Disability Insurer Profiles: Ameritas

Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and sells a number of different types of insurance. In 2006, Ameritas merged with Union Central Mutual Holding Company, acquiring the disability insurance policies previously sold by Union Central and their claims personnel. In 2017, Ameritas reported assets worth $23.1 billion and $2.2 billion in revenue.[1]

If you have an Ameritas policy, it is important to read your policy carefully, so that you understand the scope of your coverage and how your policy works. For example, while most disability policies provide benefits to age 65 or age 67, we have seen some Ameritas policies that have a “to age 65” benefit period, but also contain additional language that limits the maximum number of years you can recover benefits to 10 years. If you have one of these policies, and don’t take the time to review it in detail, you may mistakenly think that you have coverage to age 65, but, in reality, the policy only pays benefits for a max of 10 years.

As another example, some Ameritas policies have a “total disability” definition that changes over time. In Hopkins v. Ameritas[2], an endodontist filed a “total disability” claim under a policy that shifted from “own occupation” coverage to “any occupation” coverage after 60 months. The endodontist tried to argue that the provision was ambiguous, but when his attorney sued Ameritas, the court agreed with Ameritas’s interpretation and held that, after the initial 60 month period, the endodontist could only receive benefits “if the same disability rendered him unable to perform any reasonable occupation.”

This sort of shifting definition of “total disability” can be particularly problematic for professionals with conditions that significantly impact their ability to perform their occupation, but have a lesser impact on their ability to perform other work (e.g. a dentist with a tremor that makes it unsafe for him or her to practice clinical dentistry).

These are just a few examples of things to be aware of if you have an Ameritas policy or claim with Ameritas. Not all Ameritas policies are identical, and they are updated frequently. Your policy may or may not include the provisions mentioned above. If you are considering filing a disability claim, you should consult with an experienced disability insurance attorney to learn more about your policy and any potential issues related to your particular claim.

 

[1] https://www.ameritas.com; https://www.ameritas.com/OCM/GetFile?doc=408267.

[2] See, e.g., Hopkins v. Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., 2016 WL 3748518 (Dist. Ken. July 8, 2016).

 

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