Minnesota Disability Insurance Claims

We are a 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 consult with physicians, dentists, attorneys and business executives filing disability claims throughout Minnesota, including the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth areas. If you’d like to discuss your particular claim with our attorneys, we are happy to set up a free consultation.

Below are some resources for policyholders filing disability insurance claims in Minnesota. If you would like to learn more about the disability claim process or insurance bad faith in other states, please visit our homepage.

Does Minnesota Recognize Insurance Bad Faith?

The Supreme Court of Minnesota has recognized that “[an] insurer has a duty to exercise good faith toward its insured.” Remodeling Dimensions, Inc. v. Integrity Mut. Ins. Co., 819 N.W.2d 602, 619 (Minn. 2012).

More specifically, Minnesota has an Insurance Standard of Conduct statute that allows courts to award damages if a policyholder can show “(1) the absence of a reasonable basis for denying the benefits of the insurance policy; and (2) that the insurer knew of the lack of a reasonable basis for denying the benefits of the insurance policy or acted in reckless disregard of the lack of a reasonable basis for denying the benefits of the insurance policy.” Minn. Stat. § 604.18, subd. 2(a).1

The Minnesota Supreme Court has further instructed “the burden rests with the insured to prove that the insurer violated the standard of conduct.” Peterson v. W. Nat’l Mut. Ins. Co., 946 N.W.2d 903, 908–10 (Minn. 2020) (internal citations omitted).

Additionally, the “proper inquiry” under the “first prong of the section” is “whether a reasonable insurer under the circumstances would not have denied the insured the benefits of the insurance policy.” Id. When applying this standard, “the factfinder should consider the level of investigation a reasonable insurer would have conducted under the circumstances of the case and how a reasonable insurer would have evaluated the claims in light of that investigation.” Id.

In other words, “[t]he insurer’s evaluation of the insured’s claim must be fair” and “[a] fair evaluation means an evaluation that considers and weighs all of the facts and circumstances that a reasonable insurer would consider relevant.” 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 Minnesota Disability Insurance Cases

Chapman v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 555 F. Supp. 3d 713 (D. Minn. 2021), appeal dismissed, No. 21-2971 (8th Cir. Sept. 28, 2021) (Minnesota endodontist filed a disability claim with Unum/Provident due to degenerative arthritis in her hands; Unum approved the claim but classified it as a “sickness” disability claim instead of an “injury” disability claim to avoid paying lifetime benefits; the endodontist’s treating provider opined that the arthritis was “aggravated and accelerated by work as an endodontist”; the court determined that the claim should be considered an “injury” claim because the disability was caused by repetitive stress/trauma and “[a]n ordinary plan participant would likely expect that an insurer would cover repetitive stress injury under Provident’s definition of ‘accidental bodily injury’”).

Dowdle v. National Life Insurance Co., No. Civ. 01-2346ADMJSM (D. Minn. Aug. 28, 2003) (Minnesota orthopedic surgeon filed a disability claim due to injuries he suffered in an airplane accident; following his accident, Dr. Dowdle was unable to perform surgery but remained able to see patients, interpret data, and read x-rays; the court held that he was totally disabled under his policy because such duties were “manifestly secondary or supplementary tasks incident to the primary function of an orthopedic surgeon of conducting surgery”).

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?

Minnesota Federal District Court Locations

Professional disability claims are often filed in, or removed to, Federal Court given the amounts in controversy. When we work with local counsel to be admitted pro hac vice, we identify the courthouse that is closest to you. Below is a list of the primary Federal Courthouses in Minnesota, but there may be satellite courthouses that are closer to where you live.

Minneapolis. Diana E. Murphy U.S. Courthouse, 300 S. Fourth Street, Suite 202, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

St. Paul. Warren E. Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 316 N. Robert Street, Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55101.

Duluth. Gerald W. Heaney Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse and Customhouse, 515 W. First Street, Suite 417, Duluth, MN 55802.

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 | 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 | LINA | 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.