An employee may elect to convert their Basic Life Policy and to port their Supplemental Life policy within 31 days of a change in their full time employment status. Employees may convert the life insurance in their basic package and port the supplemental life to an individual non-group policy. Rates will be determined by age. Details are availalbe in the Hartford Benefit Plan available below. Please contact the Human Resource office for forms at Hartford Conversion paperwork will be included in the Pension Package the employee receives in the mail if the employee is pension eligible.
Higher education is an invaluable investment. Our goal is to make a UConn education affordable to each student selected for admission. In fact, more than 80 percent of UConn students receive some form of financial assistance. Email: hartford. Tuition and Aid. Fall fee bills are due August 1st.
Spring fee bills are due January 8th. Financial Aid. Standard Ins. State legislatures and insurance regulators have in the recent past enacted statutes, regulations, and administrative rules that either prohibit outright the use of discretionary clauses in insurance contracts or impose limitations on the content and format of these clauses.
Texas is among those states and recently enacted a law banning insurers' use of delegation clauses. See TEX. Both parties elected to proceed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52 , which governs actions "tried on the facts without a jury. In the Fifth Circuit, " Rule 52 a does not require that the district court set out [its] findings on all factual questions that arise in a case.
Aetna Life Ins. Cypress Med. Operating Co. Rapides Parish Sch. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Nor does it demand "punctilious detail [or] slavish tracing of the claims issue by issue and witness by witness. Rather, a court's "[f]indings [are sufficient to] satisfy Rule 52 if they afford the reviewing court a clear understanding of the factual basis for the trial court's decision.
According to courts outside the Fifth Circuit, using Rule 52 is effective in the ERISA context because courts may resolve factual disputes and issue legal findings without the parties resorting to cross motions for summary judgment. Tran v. Minnesota Life Ins. In a trial on the administrative record, the district judge reviews the evidence to determine "whether [the plaintiff] is disabled within the terms of the policy.
Further, "in a trial on the record, but not on summary judgment, the judge can evaluate the persuasiveness of conflicting testimony and decide which is more likely true. The Magistrate Judge's recommended findings and conclusions are based upon the Agreed Administrative Record. The Court will incorporate the pertinent facts in its discussion of Defendant's objections. The Magistrate Judge stated Plaintiff, to obtain LTD benefits beyond December 14, , must show by a preponderance of the evidence that she cannot perform one or more essential duties of any occupation for which she is qualified.
Based on the Agreed Administrative Record, the Magistrate Judge concluded Plaintiff had shown she could not perform all the essential duties of any occupation for which she is reasonably qualified. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge stated as follows:. Plaintiff has suffered from severe back pain since at least , when a diagnostic lumbar discogram revealed severe pathology at her L, L5-S1 intervertebral levels as well as less severe degeneration at her L level.
AR Plaintiff underwent surgery in on her L4-S1 levels and improved for a time, but she began to deteriorate in AR , By , Plaintiff could not sit in a chair, lie in a bed, or stand for any significant length of time. Plaintiff pursued aggressive surgical treatment with neurosurgeon, Robert Martin, M. On March 25, , Dr.
Martin performed an extreme interbody fusion at L In July , Dr. Martin stated Plaintiff could sit for no more than two hours in a day, stand for no more than two hours per day, and walk for no more than two hours per day. Martin further stated these limitations are permanent.
The Hartford Life Insurance Company
Still complaining of pain, Plaintiff next sought treatment with Ralph F. Rashbaum, M. Rashbaum diagnosed Plaintiff with "failed back surgery syndrome" and surgically implanted a spinal cord stimulator. The spinal cord stimulator eventually caused an increase in Plaintiff's symptoms, and Dr. Rashbaum surgically removed it in December Rashbaum recommended Plaintiff start long-term use of class II narcotics.
In a "long hard conversation," Dr. Rashbaum advised Plaintiff as follows: [S]he probably does need to try a class II medication. I have told her in the past that she will more than likely always be on some form of pain medication, she wanted to avoid class II if possible. I think we have exhausted every other procedure and modality to try to prevent that.
I am referring her now to Dr. Bernstein to see if he can find the right medication mix to help reduce her pain so that she can be more active. She wants to do so much, but is very limited physically. I have also provided her with a prescription for handicap parking placard that she can use. I think she pushes herself so far that she has been in such extreme pain that she is bedridden for 2 to 3 days.
Plaintiff's care then transitioned to pain management physician Sidney Bernstein, M. Bernstein stated Plaintiff could sit, stand, and walk for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time and could not do any of the postures for more than a total of four hours per day.
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On February 20, , Hartford management reviewed Plaintiff's claim and noted: [Plaintiff] continues with chronic lower back and leg pain. Bernstein is managing her medications and making adjustment to help better control [her] pain.
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Although Dr. Bernstein notes that [Plaintiff] has the capacity to lift up to 10 lbs. Therefore, it is reasonable that [Plaintiff] would be unable to sustain fulltime any occ[upation] activities. When Dr. Bernstein retired in December , Plaintiff updated Hartford with records from her current pain management physician, Noor Gajraj, M.
Gajraj listed Plaintiff's primary diagnosis as lumbar degenerative disc disease and her secondary diagnosis as lumbar radiculopathy. AR duplicate AR He listed her medications as Dilaudid and Fentanyl and her current subjective symptoms as rightsided low back pain and right leg pain and tenderness. He opined Plaintiff could walk, stand, and sit for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time and for no longer than four hours per day.
The Magistrate Judge considered the opinions of Plaintiff's treating physicians and the supporting evidence of their opinions, such as the surveillance and objective medical records and Defendant's actions over the course of several years. The Magistrate Judge found the treating physicians' opinions reliable and probative, concluding as follows:.
Based on the Agreed Administrative Record, Plaintiff has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that she cannot perform the essential duties, which includes the ability to work a full work week, of any occupation for which she qualifies. Plaintiff has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that her disability persisted beyond December 14, In her de novo review, the Magistrate Judge also considered the evidence relied upon by Defendant in justifying its termination of benefits and found no evidence of improvement in Plaintiff's condition since Defendant previously found Plaintiff was unable to sustain full time work in any occupation.
The Magistrate Judge also considered whether pre-judgment interest, costs, and attorney's fees should be awarded as requested by Plaintiff. The Magistrate Judge found Plaintiff is entitled to receive LTD benefits from December 15, , and to recover pre-judgment interest on those unpaid benefits. She also found the circumstances support an award to Plaintiff for attorney's fees and costs, in addition to the benefits amount owed to her under the Policy. According to Defendant, the Magistrate Judge does not address the case law cited by Defendant. In her response, Plaintiff emphasizes the standard in this case is de novo review as opposed to abuse of discretion.
Plaintiff argues Defendant's objections revisit a number of contested fact issues raised in the underlying briefing on which the Magistrate Judge found Plaintiff's evidence to be more compelling. Rather than "cherry pick" the Agreed Administrative Record, Plaintiff asserts the Magistrate Judge explained in detail why she found some evidence more probative and some evidence less probative. Under an abuse of discretion standard, if the plan fiduciary's decision is supported by substantial evidence and is not arbitrary and capricious, it must prevail. Arrington v.
Reliance Standard Life Ins. Liberty Life Assurance Co.
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Substantial evidence is "merely 'more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Metro Life ins. The court's review needs only assure that the administrator's decision falls somewhere on a continuum of reasonableness, even if on the low end, and need not be particularly complex or technical.
Although the parties have agreed the Court's evaluation of this ERISA case should be subject to Firestone's default de novo review, the parties' arguments reflect a fundamental disagreement as to what such a review entails. The Court provides the following background as to why the Magistrate Judge found it necessary to reference law from outside this circuit in determining what such a review entails.
A little over one year ago, a majority of the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled its precedent, Pierre v.
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Life Ins. Ariana M. Humana Health Plan of Tex. See Ariana M. In Ariana M. I , the Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's order granting summary judgment and remanded for de novo review.