Insurance Company Tactics:
Trivializing Job Duties

Does your insurance company understand your job duties? If not, how much does it matter?

If you have an “own occupation” disability policy, it could be the difference between a benefit approval and a benefit denial.

Why is My Insurer Trivializing My Job Duties?

Your job duties are a critical component of an “own occupation” disability claim. For this reason, insurers may seek to misclassify or over-simplify your job duties to avoid payment.

One such example is the case Joyce v. Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA).[1] Joyce was a garbage-collection supervisor, or route manager.  In 2016, Joyce was struck in the head by a tree branch during a storm. He suffered a concussion and several ongoing symptoms. These included cognitive dysfunction, headaches, visuospatial difficulties, visual problems, and frustration.

Joyce’s actual job included supervisory activities, interactions with workers, analyzing and solving problems and knowledge of equipment. However, LINA merely identified Joyce’s job as “laborer.” LINA then determined that Joyce could still perform “labor,” and relied on a paper file review of Joyce’s medical records to justify a claim denial.

The Outcome

Joyce took LINA to court, and the judge saw through LINA’s tactics. The judge recognized that LINA’s determination did not include the correct job description and noted that LINA had been selective in the records it chose to review. In this case, the court ordered LINA to reevaluate the claim, taking into account the proper job duties. However, it took a court order to ensure that LINA properly evaluated Joyce’s claim.

If you have filed a claim and feel like your insurance is misclassifying your job description and duties, please feel free to contact our attorneys directly to set up a consult.

Every claim is unique and the discussion above is only a limited summary of the court’s ruling in this case. If you are concerned that your insurer is not evaluating your claim under the proper standard, an experienced disability insurance attorney can help you assess the situation and determine what options, if any, are available.


[1] Joyce v. Life Insurance Company of North America, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-1293, 2021 WL 493262 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 10, 2021)


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