Lucens group claims to be a privately-owned company that offers settlement facilitation services and assists disability companies with what they call “benefit validation.” They help disability carriers track the status of your SSDI claim and help to make sure claimants are receiving the correct monthly long-term disability payments. Their website states the company is an approved Social Security Administration (SSA) vendor and that the company’s intention is to help insurance companies as well as claimants.
Lucens Group has been involved with insurance companies including Unum Life Insurance Company of America in the area of “benefit validation.” You may have been contacted for information about your SSDI claim and asked to complete authorizations so that Lucens Group can gather data for the disability carrier.
Beyond benefit validation, Lucens Group appears to also offer settlement facilitation services and several disability companies, including Cigna, Anthem Life Insurance Company, and Custom Disability Solutions have employed Lucens Group to present claimants with settlement offers. Lucens Group is paid by the insurance company to handle the process of answering questions regarding a settlement offer, the process involved, options and steps involved in securing a buyout.
Recently, claimants have been receiving calls from Lucens group offering lump sum settlement offers on their disability claims. After receiving these offers claimants soon learn that Lucens group will not provide much more than general information about the buyout process.
Lucens Group will provide only general information to the claimant regarding how the settlement offer was calculated including information about present day value and the mortality rate.
Lucens Group’s sole purpose is to facilitate the process of accomplishing the buyout so that your insurance company does not have to deal with any back and forth questions. Often, buyout offers generate many questions from claimants since the calculations don’t always make sense and, without a financial background, many claimants have a hard time understanding some of the concepts involved in calculating a buyout offer. Lucens Group is generally not authorized to negotiate any offers so any offer you receive from them will likely be a take it or leave it offer. If you feel the offer is not fair, sometimes your insurance company may be willing to negotiate.
However, one of the reasons your insurance company retained Lucens Group to handle the buyout process was to avoid dealing with claimants who may want more money. The only way to get more money is to deal with the insurance company and they may or may not be willing to increase the offer. An experienced settlement attorney can let you know if this is possible and negotiate a higher offer.
As part of the process, Lucens Group will encourage you to have your legal documents reviewed by a legal, tax and/or financial professional. Also, depending on the insurance company, you may be given the option to be reimbursed $450 for a professional review of your settlement offer. Documentation would have to be submitted to be reimbursed. Even if they do not initially offer to reimburse your legal fees, in never hurts to ask and the right buyout lawyers may be able to get your insurance company to agree to reimbursement.
Do not electronically sign anything before contacting your attorneys
Lucens Group does everything electronically so you will be asked to review the Offer Letter end Release Agreement and electronically sign attesting you read and understood the Letter and Agreement.
The Release Agreement is a legally binding document and should be reviewed carefully. You should understand that you will be signing away your rights to any future benefits and lose a portion of your future benefits by taking a buyout of the policy. The DI Lawyer will review your buyout offer letter with you and provide you with references for tax and financial professionals in your area. It may also be necessary to review your disability policy to fully assess a buyout offer.
We can also help you understand how the number was calculated and whether the offer should be considered fair taking into account your personal financial needs and goals. Neither your insurance company nor Lucens Group will tell you if the offer is in your best interests. Only you can determine if the offer is right for you, but that decision should be made only after consulting with an experienced buyout lawyer and tax and financial professionals.
The process starts with a letter from your insurance company explaining that you are eligible to receive a one-time, lump sum payment of your current disability insurance benefits. Generally, you will get 30 days to consider the offer.
You will be given a unique code to review your settlement offer on Lucens Group’s website where you will be required to set up an account. You can contact an attorney at any step for help with reviewing your options.
In your online account you will be given access to the buyout offer letter from your insurance company presenting you with the Release Agreement and directing you to Lucens Group for their Settlement Facilitation Services. The letter generally gives basic information about your monthly benefit and the total amount of the offer but will not explain how an offer was calculated.
Lucens Group’s website makes it very easy to simply click a few buttons to electronically sign the release agreement. After electronically signing the release, your insurance company will mail you a check. Lucens Group will answer basic questions but will direct you back to your insurance company for any other questions. Your insurance company will likely decline to answer any of your financial, legal, or tax questions and give vague information on how the offer was calculated.
You should not electronically sign any settlement release without first speaking with an experienced buyout lawyer.
By accepting a buyout, you will receive a single lump sum payment immediately in exchange for a complete discharge of all of the insurance company’s obligations under the LTD policy. You will no longer receive any future monthly disability benefits even if you remain disabled and even if you develop a new disability not related to your current disability. However, it’s also possible that you may recover and become able to return to work in the future. Your lump sum payment would still be yours to keep.
It is very important to consider all the implications resulting from settling your claim. Before accepting a buyout, you should ask your employer if settling your claim will affect any other benefits you are or may become eligible to receive from your employer. Such benefits could include continued medical and dental insurance coverage or the continued participation in an employer sponsored pension plan. If you have these benefits, then you may lose them by settling your claim. The value of these benefits should be carefully considered when determining if a buyout offer amount is fair.
If your benefit is taxable, the tax implications could be severe when taking a lump sum payment rather than monthly payments. Even if the benefit is taxable, there are ways to avoid a hefty tax bill. The DI Lawyer has resources to help you with this issue.
If you are on claim with Cigna, Anthem, or Custom Disability Solutions and you are interested in engaging your insurance company in settlement negotiations there are things to consider before raising the subject. Every insurance company will want to perform a medical review and it is important that your medical records and physicians be ready for a review before you approach your insurance company. Depending on your unique situation, there are many things that you should do before deciding to ask your insurance company. The DI Lawyer can help you decide if there is anything that should be done given your unique circumstances and can tell you if you may meet your insurance company’s criteria for a lump sum settlement. The initial consultation is always free.
Most Long-Term Disability (LTD) policies contain a provision that allows your insurance company the right to offset or reduce your benefits by any Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits you receive or may be eligible to receive. The policy may also give the insurance company the right to estimate your SSDI benefits while the SSDI claim is pending. Using this leverage, the insurance company often offers to have you sign a reimbursement agreement whereby you agree to reimburse them for any overpayment that occurs as a result of a retroactive award of SSDI benefits in exchange for the insurance company paying you your monthly disability benefits without reducing them by any estimate while your claim is pending. Some policies may even have specific language requiring you to sign a reimbursement agreement.
The specific requirements may vary slightly depending on your insurance company. What is clear, regardless of the language, is that if any offset language is present in your policy, your insurance company will have an incentive to stay up to date with the status of your SSDI claim.
Your insurance company will want to take every penny it can. Some insurance companies have been known to terminate a claim almost immediately after being reimbursed for an overpayment leaving a claimant to live off of their SSDI benefits.
As part of their “Benefit Validation” service, Lucens Group will contact you for information about your open or pending claim for Social Security Benefits. They collect this information for your disability insurance carrier and to ensure they get reimbursed for any over payment that occurs as a result of a retroactive award of SSDI benefits.
While you may have a responsibility to keep your insurance company up to date on your claim status and ultimately reimburse them if the claim is approved, you should carefully consider everything you sign. You may have a duty to keep them up to date, but you do not have to release all your medical information to Lucens Group.