There is an increase in the number of long term disability claims in Ontario. According to a recent RBC Insurance study, Long Term Disability claims are on the rise. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Aging baby boomers. As people get older their health declines. Particularly, in today’s climate, COVID-19 or the coronavirus, illnesses for older people are at the forefront. In light of this, insurance companies can expect to receive a lot more applications for long term disability insurance.
- Another reason for the increase in claims could be education to the public. There is more and more free information on the internet and social media. People are becoming aware that if they are sick, injured or unable to work for any reason they can apply to their long term disability insurer.
- During difficult economic times, employers often rely on their employees more than ever as they are unable to hire more staff. There may also be temporary layoffs, which creates more stress for everyone. When economic times turn around then employees have extra time but crash and need time to recover. This is another reason for the increase in long term disability claims. If this is the case, employees should request some assistance from their employers.
Employers should do what they can do avoid long term disability claims. Having key employees off work can seriously hurt their business. Finding a temporary replacement is expensive and inconvenient. It is not an efficient business model. Here are a few recommendations for businesses, especially small ones:
- If possible, and if employers are able, provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to manage things so that the employee can recover and avoid being off work due to a disability claim.
- If a disability claim is made then employers should have the proper resources to staff vacant positions as quickly as possible. This may require the employer to build a relationship with a staffing agency beforehand. Ideally, a discussion should be had about potential future needs of the business.
- Subscribe to a group benefits plan that allows options such as part-time work.
- Educate your employees on all their benefits. Make sure they know their options so they can make best use of them and to make the best decision for themselves when it comes time to making a claim.
As an employee, if you feel the need to make an application for long term disability insurance because you are unable to work then you will need to fill out forms and provide medical records to the insurance company. The insurer may send you to a medical examination or conduct surveillance on you to determine whether you really meet the disability test. Once you’ve prepared your application package submit it to the insurance company
Hopefully you will be approved. If your long term disability claim application is denied then you will need to either appeal internally or file a lawsuit against the insurance company. If you’d prefer to not hire a lawyer then you can appeal internally in hopes of being approved. If you are again denied and truly believe you cannot work then you may need to hire a lawyer and bring a lawsuit.