Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates.
In 2006 Lincoln Financial Group joined the major disability insurance companies when it increased in size by acquiring the Jefferson Pilot Corporation. More recently, Lincoln acquired Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston (Liberty Life) from Liberty Mutual Insurance Group in 2018. The acquisition created a significantly increased presence in the Group Benefits market positioning Lincoln Financial Group as a leader in the Market.
What this means for claimants is that Lincoln Financial will be managing all claims that were formerly managed by Liberty Mutual. Through experience handling many claims against both Liberty Mutual and Lincoln Financial, The DI Lawyer understands the claims process of both insurance companies. Generally, Lincoln Financial has tended to be better at managing long term disability (LTD) claims when compared to Liberty Mutual and the reviews have been more reasonable. As a result, their claims decisions can be described as being quite fair. This is good news for all claimants who’s claims were formerly being managed by Liberty Mutual.
The same air of fairness can be said to extend to Lincoln National’s lump sum buyout offers.
Generally, a buyout is an option only after having been on claim for several years—meaning at least 2 years. Lincoln may call you and ask if you are interested in taking a lump sum payout of your future disability benefits in lieu of continuing your monthly benefit payments.
If the offer is unsolicited then you should contact a disability buyout attorney before proceeding. If you approached Lincoln and they responded agreeably to your request, you should still contact an attorney before moving forward.
Lincoln will follow up with a letter confirming your telephone conversation and include a written lump sum settlement offer. It is important to understand that there is no obligation to accept a settlement at any point. Lincoln cannot force you to accept a buyout and you should not feel pressured to do so.
The letter typically includes a formal RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT for you to sign in the presence of a witness. The release will be written in favor of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company and should never be signed without the advice of experienced legal counsel.
Lincoln will typically give you 30 days to consider the offer. This time should be used to fully assess your situation and determine whether a buyout is right for you. While it is not a good idea to simply accept the offer and sign the release it is often also unwise to simply decline without fully considering your options.
A buyout assessment should include a team comprised of a legal specialist, tax specialist and financial specialist. The DI Lawyer has years of experience and focuses exclusively on buyouts with all the major disability carriers along with a network of tax and financial specialists. He has years of experience handling claims with Lincoln Financial and Liberty Mutual.
Lincoln’s settlement offer letters will not include any details about how the offer was calculated. It will give you basic information about the total benefits you would receive until the policy expires. It will provide you with the policy expiration date and then it will state the amount offered.
Like all other disability insurance companies, Lincoln will consider the same basic factors in calculating an offer amount. Lincoln’s actuaries will calculate the present value of your future benefits. They will calculate the probability that you will live until the policy expires and they will discount the present value by the mortality and morbidity ratings they calculated. The calculations will be based on, among other factors, your medical history and most recent medical records available.
It is crucial to ensure your most recent medical records are in order and that your doctors are prepared to answer questions about your medical conditions if Lincoln decides to perform a medical review. If you are soliciting an offer, as opposed to receiving an unsolicited offer from Lincoln, then there is a good chance that Lincoln will want to perform a medical review. It can be fatal to your ongoing claim if you approach Lincoln at the wrong time and ask for a buyout. Seeking counsel from experienced disability attorneys or professionals before approaching Lincoln can help you avoid making any bad moves.
There are many benefits to taking a lump sum payout of your claim. By agreeing to a buyout, you will be required to completely surrender your disability policy. This means that you will not have any future coverage, even if you suffer another disability caused by a completely unrelated medical condition. But this also means that you will not have to worry about Lincoln Financial ever again.
No more claim forms
By settling with Lincoln, you never have to fill out another claim form or bother your doctors with attending physician statements. These annoying requests can become discouraging and cause your doctors to become frustrated with you. Often, improperly completed claim forms can be the source of a claim denial.
No more risk of your claim being denied
No matter how long you have been on claim there is never a guarantee of continued benefits. As long as you are in the claim management pool you are subject to ongoing reviews. Every review presents a new opportunity for your claim to be terminated. Even if you have perfected the art of filling out claim forms along with your doctors, things can change when you least expect them to. A change in your health insurance provider could cause you to have to change your primary care physician. Often, new doctors are reluctant to complete disability claim forms. Even if a new doctor is willing, that doesn’t mean he or she will fill them out well. 8 times out of 10, a denial at later stages of a claim have to do with improperly completed attending physician statements, often by new doctors.
No more fear of surveillance
Disability insurance companies are notorious for performing surveillance or “activities checks.” Lincoln Financial is no exception. Some disability carriers will perform these checks routinely and all it takes is one short video watched out of context to create a reason to terminate a claim. Settling a claim eliminates this risk.
A lump sum can mean financial security for you and your family
Generally, disability policies do not come with rights of survivorship. This means that if something happens to you, your benefits will end. This could be disastrous if your family relies on your monthly benefit checks to live. Taking a lump sum payout could provide security in the event that you pass away prematurely.
You can try to work
Attempting to work may not be the best idea if you do not have a residual or partial disability provision in your policy. Even with these provisions, working in a limited capacity has to be done right to limit your likelihood of your benefits being terminated. You may find yourself wanting to attempt a trial work period but are afraid about what it might do to your claim. At best, your earnings will be offset and cause your monthly benefits to be reduced. At worst, Lincoln will deem you no longer disabled and cut off your benefits. A lump sum settlement eliminates this risk and gives you the flexibility to try to work as much and as often as you would like, if you have the ability to do so.
Before approaching Lincoln with a request for a buyout you should ask yourself several questions.
These are only a few questions that you should be asking yourself before approaching Lincoln to negotiate a buyout. The first step should be to contact an experienced buyout expert for advice. The DI Lawyer always offers a free consultation. We have a network of experienced professionals that can help advise you on the legal, tax and financial aspects of a buyout. We will thoroughly review your situation and help you determine if a buyout is right for you. Every person’s circumstances are different, and every aspect of a buyout should be fully considered before deciding to move forward.
Feel free to contact us today. If you have received a buyout offer from Lincoln or you are considering approaching Lincoln, the sooner you contact us the better. Call 954-515-5504 or submit your information to receive a call the same day.