Disability Insurer Profiles: Great-West

Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (“Great-West”) is the final disability insurance provider we will look at in our series profiling insurance companies that specifically market to physicians and dentists.

See our profiles of MassMutualMetLifeNorthwestern MutualGuardian, Hartford, and Standard.

Great-West, which also goes by the registered mark of “Great-West Financial,” was incorporated in 1907, and traces its roots to a Canadian parent company that was incorporated in 1891.  Due to the nature of the economy and other factors, many insurance companies have suffered substantial losses in the past few years, and Great-West is no exception.  Great-West’s net income recently dropped from 238.1 million in 2012 to 128.7 million in 2013.  Consequently, Great-West may be looking to substantially increase its profits by, for example, denying high paying disability claims.

Company:  Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company.

Location:  Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Associated Entities:  Great-West Lifeco Inc.; Great-West Lifeco U.S. Inc.; Great-West Life Assurance Company; Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York; Great-West Capital Management, LLC; Great-West Funds, Inc.; GWFS Equities, Inc.

Assets:  $55.3 billion in 2013.

Notable Policy Features:  Great-West is the insurance company that provides group disability insurance for the American Dental Association (ADA), so if you have a Great-West policy, your claim will probably be governed by the terms of the ADA’s group disability policy.

Great-West frequently sends out notices of updates and changes to the underlying contract between the ADA and Great-West, so there is a chance that you may end up with insurance coverage that you did not bargain for at the point of sale.  Oftentimes these notices are full of legalese and insurance jargon, and may be difficult to understand.  Nevertheless, it is important for you to promptly review any notices you receive, because they may impact your disability coverage in significant ways.  If you receive such a notice and are unsure about what it means, an experienced attorney can explain how the changes outlined in the notice will impact your policy.

Additionally, if you have a Great-West policy, you should be aware that your policy may contain a very strict provision requiring you to obtain proper medical care for your condition.  For this reason, if you are thinking about filing a disability claim with Great-West, you should make sure that your medical treatment is both well-documented and “appropriate” under the policy’s terms.

Claims Management Approach:  How Great-West administers your claim will depend on the terms of the policy at the time you file your claim.  Because the terms of the ADA’s group disability policy are renegotiated on a regular basis, the terms of your policy will likely change over time.  Since your initial copy of the policy may no longer be accurate by the time you file your disability claim with Great-West, be sure to ask for a copy of the current version of your policy so that you know your rights under your policy.

These profiles are based on our opinions and experience. Additional source(s): Great-West Financial’s 2013 Annual Report; www.greatwest.com.