Arizona Disability Insurance Claims

We are a Phoenix-based healthcare/professional disability insurance law firm with a national reputation for obtaining successful results for our clients. Our firm has represented physicians, dentists, lawyers, executives and other professionals throughout the country, with the goal of securing and protecting their entitlement to benefits on own-occupation disability insurance policies.

We work with physicians, dentists, attorneys and business executives filing disability claims throughout Arizona, including the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Below are some resources for policyholders filing disability insurance claims in Arizona. If you’d like to discuss your particular claim with our attorneys, we are happy to set up a free consultation.

Does Arizona Recognize Insurance Bad Faith?

Arizona recognizes bad faith claims based upon the “implie[d] covenant of good faith and fair dealing in every contract” that “arises by virtue of a contractual relationship.” See Cavallo v. Phoenix Health Plans, Inc., 254 Ariz. 99, 518 P.3d 759, 764–65 (2022) (internal citations omitted).

As explained by the Arizona Supreme Court, “[t]he essence of that duty is that neither party will act to impair the right of the other to receive the benefits which flow from their agreement or contractual relationship.” Id.

Additionally, “because of the special relationship between an insurer and its insured, the insured may maintain an action to recover tort damages if the insurer, by an intentional act, also breaches the implied covenant by failing to deal fairly and honestly with its insured’s claim or by failing to give equal and fair consideration to the insured’s interests.” Id. This is because “one of the benefits that flow from the insurance contract is the insured’s expectation that his insurance company will not wrongfully deprive him of the very security for which he bargained or expose him to the catastrophe from which he sought protection.” Id.

In the insurance context specifically, “[t]he tort of bad faith arises when the insurance company intentionally denies, fails to process or pay a claim without a reasonable basis for such action.” To establish a claim for bad faith, “a plaintiff must show the absence of a reasonable basis for denying benefits of the policy and the defendant’s knowledge or reckless disregard of the lack of a reasonable basis for denying the claim.” Id.

The case excerpts above are not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of each state’s first-party bad faith or disability insurance law. They are merely meant to act as a resource/starting point for those interested in learning more about how insurance bad faith works in their state.

You should always speak with an attorney before making any legal arguments relating to your disability claim.

Notable Arizona Disability Insurance Cases

Nunley v. Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, No. 06-2626-PHX-MHM (D. Ariz. 2009) (Arizona dentist suffered pain and stiffness in his left forearm and right thumb after a skiing accident; court determined that Berkshire/Guardian’s failure to investigate the dentist’s claim adequately or in a timely fashion could expose it to punitive damages).

Leavy v. Unum/Provident Corp., No. CIV 02-2281-PHX-SMM (D. Ariz. May 26, 2006) (Arizona dentist with chemical dependency had disability claim denied by Unum; court determined that “reasonable jurors could conclude that defendants acted unreasonably in their evaluation and processing of Plaintiff’s claim,” despite the fact that the insurer never missed a payment).

Ceimo v. Gen. Am. Life Ins. Co., No. 2:00–CV–1386 FJM (D. Ariz. Sept. 17, 2003) (Arizona invasive cardiologist became disabled due to cervical degenerative disc disease; the disability insurance companies asserted that Dr. Ceimo was not a specialty cardiologist because of the amount of time she spent on surgeries each week; Dr. Ciemo filed a bad faith claim asserting that the companies improperly interpreted her specialty, and that they improperly relied on biased in-house medical consultants and internal company practices geared toward denying high-dollar physician claims).

Norcia v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y of the United States, 80 F. Supp. 2d 1047, 1052 (D. Ariz. 2000) (Owner of limousine company in New Jersey who later moved to Arizona and opened a boutique antique store became disabled after a horseback riding accident suffering vertebral compression fracture and ten fractured ribs; Equitable attempted to recharacterize Norcia’s occupation in order to deny him benefits claiming his occupation was “retired/unemployed person,” and his primary duties would be “standing, sitting, walking and driving”; the court called this analysis “pure poppycock,” “noxious” and “disgraceful”).

Nystrom v. Massachusetts Cas. Ins. Co., 148 Ariz. 208, 713 P.2d 1266 (App. 1986) (Sales marketing and sales management employee suffered from anxiety attacks; the insurance company determined that chest tightness was not a heart problem, but was of musculoskeletal origin secondary to tension at work; court determined policyholder was unable to perform the substantial material duties of his occupation if the risk of doing so would cause him mental or physical harm).

Common Disability Claim Questions

What should I expect when filing a disability claim?

What issues am I most likely to face handling my disability insurance claim alone?

Why are disability insurance claims made by physicians, dentists and other professionals especially targeted for denial or termination?

My disability claim was just denied. What should I do now?

What can my insurance company do when it is investigating my claim?

Do insurance companies conduct surveillance and, if so, when are they watching?

Why does my insurer want to conduct a field interview?

How can I tell if I have a true own-occupation policy?

What are the different types of disability policies?

Arizona Federal District Court Locations

Professional disability claims are often filed in, or removed to, Federal Court given the amounts in controversy. Below is a list of the primary Federal Courthouses in Arizona.

Phoenix: 401 W. Washington St., Suite 130, SPC 1, Phoenix, AZ 85003-2118.

Tucson: 405 W. Congress Street, Suite 1500, Tucson, AZ 85701-5010.

Yuma: 98 West 1st Street, Yuma, AZ 85364.

Flagstaff: 123 N. San Francisco Street, Suite 200, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.

Who Do Your Disability Insurance Attorneys Represent?

The lists below provide a representative overview of the types of professionals we represent, the disability companies we file claims with and litigate against, and a non-exhaustive list of some of the disabling conditions our prior clients have had.


Anesthesiologists | Attorneys | Cardiologists | Chief Medical Directors | Chiropractors | Commercial Real Estate Brokers | Corporate Executives | Emergency Medicine | Endodontists | Gastroenterologists | General Dentists | Gynecologists | Internal Medicine | Neurologists | Neurosurgeons | Obstetricians | Ophthalmologists | Oral Surgeons | Orthodontists | Orthopedic Surgeons | Otolaryngologists | Physical Therapists | Podiatrists | Professional Athletes | Prosthodontists | Psychiatrists | Psychologists | Pulmonologists | Radiation Oncologists | Radiologists | Rheumatologists | Veterinarians

Physician Claims & Resources | Dentist Claims & Resources

Disability Insurance Companies

Aetna | AIG | Allstate | Anthem | American General | Ameritas | Berkshire Insurance Group | Boston Mutual | Cigna/LINA | Colonial Life | Connecticut General | Davies Life & Health/Disability Management Services, Inc. | Disability Reinsurance Management | First Unum | Fortis | Great West | Guardian Life | Hartford | Jefferson | John Hancock | Liberty Mutual | Lloyd’s of London | Mass Casualty | Mass Mutual | MetLife | Monarch | Mutual of Omaha | National Life of Vermont | New York Life | New England Life | Northwestern Mutual Life | Ohio National | Paul Revere | Penn Mutual | Phoenix Life Insurance | Principal Life | Provident | Prudential | Reassurance America | Reliance | Reliance Standard | Sedgwick | Standard | Sun Life | The Equitable Life | Transamerica | Trustmark | Trustmark Disability Advisors | Union Central | Unum | UnumProvident

Disabling Conditions

Aneurysms | Anxiety/Panic Attacks | Angina Pectoris/Ischemia | Arthritis (Osteo, Psoriatic, Rheumatoid) | Atrial Fibrillation (AF) | Autoimmune Disorders | Bipolar Disorder | Brachial Plexus Injuries | Bulging Discs (Cervical/Lumbar) | Bursitis | Cancer | Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) | Cervical/Neck Pain | Crohn’s Disease/IBD | Complex Regional Pain Syndrome | Congestive Heart Failure | Coronary Artery Disease | Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) | Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) | Dislocated Elbow/Shoulder | Dislocated Hip/Hip Replacement | Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) | Essential Tremors | Focal Dystonia | Ganglion Cysts | Glaucoma | Hand/Arm Pain – NOS | Head Trauma/Cognitive Difficulties | Hearing Loss | Herniated Discs (Cervical/Lumbar) | Ligament Tears | Long-Haul COVID | Lumbar/Back Pain | Lyme Disease | Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) | Macular Degeneration | Meniere’s Disease | Migraines | Multiple Sclerosis (MS) | Musculoskeletal Disorders | Myasthenia Gravis (MG) | Myelopathy (Cervical/Lumbar) | Myofascial Pain Syndrome | Nerve Impingement/Entrapment | Neuroma | Orthostatic Hypertension/Hypotension | Osteoarthritis | Paresthesia/Dysesthesia | Parkinson’s Disease | Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction | Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) | Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction | Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) | Radiculopathy (Cervical/Lumbar) | Repetitive Stress Injuries | Retinal Detachment/Floaters | Rotator Cuff Injury/Tears | Sciatica | Scoliosis | Serotonin Syndrome | Shoulder/Back/Neck Pain – NOS | Sleep Apnea | Spondylolisthesis | Spondylosis | Stenosis (Spinal/Foraminal) | Stroke | Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) | Traumatic Injuries | Tumors | Ulnar Neuropathy | Vertigo/BPPV | Visual Impairment

The information provided above is offered purely for informational purposes. It is not intended to create or promote an attorney-client relationship, and does not constitute and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Every claim is unique and the discussion above is only a limited summary of information that may be relevant to your claim. An experienced disability insurance attorney can help you assess your particular disability claim, or potential disability claim, and determine what options are available to you.