Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Great-West Life Part II - The Sweet Smell of Success

On April 18th I recieved a wonderful letter in the mail from the customer liason officer at The Great-West Life Assurance Company. Although a full six months after my intial claim, the letter carefully and thoughtfully laid out how sorry the company was, first, for the delay in responding to my inquiries and second, for the frustration I experienced. I have been assured that this practice will not continue and changes throughout the company will be implemented to ensure that no valued customer of Great-West is troubled in this way again. In other words "God, quit your complaining, here's your stupid money; now get lost."

Hmmmm......

Okay, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. As has been pointed out many times in books, websites and other materials, in order to have a complaint resolved you must immediately speak to a higher official. This usually starts with "Let me speak to your supervisor" and now-a-days, because employees at high-complaint industries (e.g. cable, telephone, insurance, banks, etc) have been trained in this, that phrase must be followed by either "or else" (which will likely involve a visit from the police) or "Let me speak to the General Manager". As an employee at various retail operations during my lengthy blue-collar existence, this used to drive me up the wall. An organization puts policies in place and then caves for the first person to say "Let me speak to the GM". The thing that drove me out of my mind is when the complainer would get abusive and angry and some 19 year-old "supervisor" would come along and placate the asshole like the French serving tea to Hitler. Alas, this is proof once again that talking to the regular schmo (which I have been and still am) is a complete and total waste of your time. I attempted to go through the regular channels, certain that someone would realize the mistake they made and hesitant about making the above-noted "Get your manager or else" demand because I hate thinking I am going to make someone else realize they are nothing but a jober, answering phones for the "man". But I guess that is reality.

Anyway, Great-West immediately sent out cheques for the full amount of the claim (no interest, maybe I should have pushed for that too?). In total, this adventure cost us around $520 to get back $370, including my time, postage, interest lost and various other intangibles. Luckily, I only had to fork over postage.

The most frustrating thing about all of this is that it took 6 months to get paid on a $370 claim. Imagine if the claim had been for several thousands. Think about the time it has taken from the lives of a half dozen people involved in this already for this ASSHOLE corporation to finally back-up its own policy. You want to make money for your sharholders, you pitiful, mindless, deviant frauds? How about not spending money fighting valid claims? It boggles my mind how anyone, who does not have the advantages provided by a $100,000 education and the resources of a large corporation, could ever deal with an insurance company like Great-West. A word of advice to the board of directors and executive officers of Great-West: stop being pricks; it will be far more expensive in the end (i.e. Enron, Worldcom, Nortel, Tyco, Bear-Sterns).

What have I concluded from all of this? How can Mildred the 84 year-old, retiree, get her claim dealt with in a fast and efficient manner? Four words, Mildred my dear...

"GET YOUR MANAGER....asshole"

Until next time, when once again I must face the forces of darkness with nothing but pen and paper.....

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bad news for me. My company uses Great West too. How do they make any money there if they keep giving it away. -T.

Graytwest said...

I'm currently being starved into submission by Great West Life. Found this as I researched legal decisions, all of which so far GWL has lost. I was injured and nearly died as a result. I'm healing well now and anxious to get back to work. But GWL refuses to pay me for more than the first four weeks of disability. I have had no income for more than a month. And like you, I'm an intelligent, high functioning well educated guy. I feel sorry for Mildred. Check my site, you'll enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

www.graytwestlife.com

I will be setting up a comment section where others can tell their GWL horror stories. The assholes spend thousands to save nickels. Pricks

Anonymous said...

www.graytwestlife.com

I will be setting up a comment section where others can tell their GWL horror stories. The assholes spend thousands to save nickels. Pricks

Anonymous said...

I have fought with GreatWest since August of 2008. I was told in September, December and January that this claim would be paid and that they had received all of the necessary documents to pay the claim. The company does not pay valid claims to keep the money in their pockets and frustrate the customer. This is not my first negetaive experience with this company. My other one cost me $7000 and my employer considered it the final straw and has changed insurance carriers!! Hooray!!!

Anonymous said...

I have had two painful experiences with this company. It seems no matter who you speak to you always get that "I don't know how you sleep at night" mentality I've come to expect from them. It's as though the company has some sort of pure evil litmus test to find truly soulless employees.

Anonymous said...

this insurance company sucks BIG TIME..

Anonymous said...

I needed a routine colonoscopy which i was told would be covered. However, if ANY polops were found it WOULDN'T be covered. WTF? Isn't that why i'm having the procedure done? What a mess. I canceled the appointment. I HATE Great west insurance. why bother even having it...

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kowena page said...

My wife had worked for kmart and then zellers for 30yrs and several things had went wrong in her life and she ended up having mental and nerves break down. she has applied for her beneifits three times get same run around .She has had doctors letters from specialist and other doctors and still denied benefits and still too this day she is still off work still seeing her doctors still getting letter say she is mentally incapble doing her job and stiil great wife still denies her benefits she paid for and is still paying for. so much for good mental health plans. we are now checking into a company call share lawyers in ontario if anyone needs them 1-888-225-9020 maybe they can help.i myself had investments in greatwestlife realestate fund and when every thing dropped they took approx 20.000 dollars away from me and then imposed moritorm on the fund and only releasing some last year on june 10/2011 and was suppose release balance to me on june 10/2011 but because of there mistake didn,t release my money then so one july 14/2011 they released my fund to the money market at the june rate while using my money tell july my funds had climbed to so that I would made approximttly $1000. more but they denied me of these fund go figure I will not indorse great westlife again and same as other people hope they go bellyup if anyone can help you can email us at foothillsautorepair@yahoo.com I can bachup everything I stated with paperwork.

Anonymous said...

I am a doctor who recently injured himself in an accident at home. It took 5 surgeries but I am finally at home. I am classified as a complete physical disability by my surgeon and have been told no activity for 4 months on it.

I purchased what I thought was a fantastic disability policy that would protect me. I have paid over $10,000 in premiums over the years. When I tried to access the policy I was told to provide all reciepts of my office overhead expenses> i explained that I was physically incapable of doing this but I would have my accountant send over my recent tax returns that has this info. They refused the documents that the CRA had used and GWL demanded the receipts or no payout. I also paid extra for a policy that paid out after 31 days. I was told by GWL that they automatically add a month to the waiting period so now I have to wait 61 days. Complete and total bullshit in my opinion.

So there you have it. I am one of those guys who has a professional degree and a good income but I got fucked too. I agree with this blogger. What does the average Joe do in this situation? They have caused me so much stress. I am devoting myself to telling as many people as possible the fradulent business practices of GWL. And yes i did goto the level of the senior case manager level.

STAY AWAY FROM GWL

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Anonymous said...

My husband was recently ordered on immediate medical leave by his doctor due to high blood pressure and work related anxiety. Anyone ever try to have a short term disablility claim processed? Well, good luck. In spite of the fact that my husband has complied with all their requests for information and the doctor has even provided all chart notes our claim has been rejected twice now! The first rejection came within 4 days of GWL received the originally claim and the second just yesterday. Apparently, their doctor, who doesn't know my husband, has never met him has a much better understanding and has deemed that my husband should go back to work! His employer cut off my husband's salary in September. Didn't even pay out his accrued vacation or sick days owing and we have been trying to deal with GWL since.
As with most organizations with benefits we pay for short term coverage. What a joke! GWL, along with all those other 1%, are crooks and we are paying them abuse us! Stop paying for this type of coverage, they are just stealing your money.

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Anonymous said...

The company MUST quote the contract. If a letter is sent saying NO - ask for the contract, the contract provisions and how the NO applies to it.

Companies who have Group Insurance should have a specialist and a copy of the contract to ensure that the contractual provisions are followed.

Ask if the person you are talking to has any medical knowledge. Chances are - they do not - and - have no idea what the medical information they are reading actually says.

Bottom line - is - can the person work with that medical condition and how does it prevent the person from working so they can earn a pre-disability salary?

Send a letter to the Chief Complience Officer or Chief Executive Officer - not the Regional Manager. Even if it get's fixed - chances are those higher up will never know about the problems.

The company hires some people who have no insurance or medical background and most have NO medical knowledge - even the Regional Managers have no medical background. Some claims go on for years before being approved because the adjudicator has no idea what they are doing.

They have conducted medical evaluations by picking and choosing what information is sent out so that the doctor will find in favor of the company decision. Even Independent Medical Evaluations have been done in a way that the company can get the decision they are looking for. So ask what medical reports are provided before you go on one of those to make sure the doctor knows everything and medical information is not hidden.

If that does not work - take it to your employer to switch insurance companies.

Someone who knows how it works.

Anonymous said...

Take your problem to Head Office.

Stop fighting with the Regional Office - get a complaint going with Head Office.

They have the power to look at problems.

Paul said...

I too can write a book about Great West Life. Its been nothing short of mental torture. I'm going all out against them....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxg6TLnqju8

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Anonymous said...

Great West Life has fucked me large! Cut off my disability after two years based on change of definiton and false investigation reports. The bottom line is they save thousands of dollars by the Change of Definition practice. Its all about money which means if you want to change thingss and cost them money, then bomb the head office in Ottawa and have them pay for all their employees that get bonuses from your pain and anquish!They will always tell you I am just doing my job. Why do people do this job in the first place.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I could not agree with your statement any better
GWL are a bunch of asshole. I would like to know how I get a refund on the premiums I have paid for LTD because they sure in the hell won't let me use it. According to their doctors I don't have a disability even though MY doctor and the various specialists I have seen have diagnosed me with one. I would live to meet THEIR doctors but luck would have it G(reedy) W(Icked) L(owlifes) won't let me. I will never ever recommend this company to anyone nor will I ever pay the premiums if I am ever able to work again. Yes, this company can go fuck themselves!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great West Life employs the largest number of lawyers who are paid to create contracts that are not binding or costly! Shareholders are the most important and the change of definiton clause in contracts were created as a loophole to cancel your benefits after 2 years including false survailance reports. Sad and disgusting but true and real. White collar crime at its finest! Those who own stocks should be ashamed to be associated with this gangster firm!

Anonymous said...

This is my second time in 7 months on a short term claim. I am now a month without income with Christmas looming in 20 days. I am losing my mind right now. I have a bulging disc and cannot do my job as a caregiver. I even got in trouble to taking out some of my RRSP's through great west life and they stated they will deduct what I will get if my claim is denied. I only took that money out to feed my child and pay bills while waiting for this money to come through. Its crazy. You pay into this for so long and in the end they dont care. UUUGH.

Anonymous said...

We're currently fighting with GWL over a claim involving our pensioner mom, spouse of my dad who had a policy that is supposed to cover long-term care. They have two clauses to this effect. Yet, they are stalling and posturing over semantics. Coverage if a person is in a nursing home and requires medical care? This apparently means $25.00 a day. Wait a minute? $25.00 a day? Didn't it say it would cover the cost of care in a nursing home? Apparently that means only $25.00 a day despite the statement that the policy covers this. We've been fighting it for over 3 months. They wont' define what the clause really means...Like you, it's pass the buck over and over again. Meanwhile, my father is deceased and my mom, demented and weak, a spoouse who's supposed to be fully covered, only qualifies for 25 bucks a day. Appalling!

Anonymous said...

Is anyone into starting an online petition?

Anonymous said...

The company my wife works for also uses GWL and as per the other comments in this forum, GWL dragged their asses on assessing my wife's claim for disability, they denied her claim. My wife submitted all the proper paperwork through her work and some extra paperwork that GWL asked for separately. She had to wait 6 months for her surgery and during that time she was not able to work due to bouts of serious pain. Several times she inquired about her claim and GWL said back that it will be processed soon. Well coincidentally 1 day after her surgery we got a phone call saying that her claim has been processed. They said due to the surgery and her capability of being able to work now her claim has been denied. So what about the 6 months of off work, does that even count. They even placed a letter to EI which prevented my wife from applying for income assistance for the time she was not working. This was a surprise to us but gave us the outlook that the claim was going through. Now they tell us that we were always able to claim EI even though we have a letter stating that we couldn't when we applied the first time.
GWL is a scam that takes your money and refuses to pay out when you really need it.
If your business or the company you work for uses GWL, push to have them drop them and look for a more reputable company that actually cares for their clients rather than steals from them and lies.

Anonymous said...

Go straight to the ombudsmen, if you are treated unfairly, thats what I did. they only have 21 days to resolve your case

Anonymous said...

My wife been out of work for 6 months with ibs and fiber myaliga severe fatigue low and behold told her she was accepted that was the week before about 2 weeks later she was denied will all doctors and specalists reports from the reviews these people are a bunch of clowns how do they get away by turning everyone down these clowns make a bad situation worse so if feeling down or hurt do not call gwl those clowns will not leave a smile just more pain looking for my lawyer.

lpestano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have dental coverage with GWL through my employer. My 2 back molars are cracked from years of grinding teeth etc... Very painful. I tried to get one of the molars crowned but the damage was too extensive (split down the middle of the tooth) and I had to have it extracted after an attempted root canal. The other tooth is likewise in bad condition and if not crowned, will need to be extracted. GWL has denied my claim saying that a filling would do the job on my cracked tooth (even after my dentist sent in several letters explaining my need). Seems they want me to lose my tooth as they don't cover implants. What a bunch of scumbags.

avlea2 said...

I don't think you would have ever gotten your apology and refund without having been persistent about it. They would have been happy to ignore you, I feel.

Wendy Jensen said...

I went straight to Social Media and got immediate response this week after being ignored by my own local rep. The OMB is now looking into my case. I refuse to deal with my local office. The girl I was dealing with refused to follow my physicians practice by submitting a medical information request she told me "Find a new doctor". Yeah like I'm giving up my doc of 20 years. This girl doesn't return phone calls, emails and is just rude. I find most of the agents are trained to be dicks. Yes they want me to record what I do every minute of the day. Why can't I work? Because of the stress you guys put me through? When recovering from an illness, a person needs rest. Instead, GWL causes more stress by being complete assholes. Even those with long term disability and have medical documentation to prove it!

Bastards.

Wendy Jensen said...

I quit my job over it. And I gotta say, since the day I gave my resignation, haven't felt better in years.

Anonymous said...

I guess I shouldn't complain after reading all the previous posts. GWL preapproved purchase of orthotics one week the next week I go to the mail box and received a rejection notice. The secondary agency who is suppose to work on our behalf is useless. So much for a gold plated benefit......

Anonymous said...

GWL denied the claim on my orthotics because the doctor used a modern state of the art 3-D imaging technique for measuring feet. The note on their web site about orthotics is not available.

Anonymous said...

GWL denied my short claim. I was in a car accident not my fault the driver was charge with careless driving. I was approved for the short term at first then when I requested I need more time off they wanted a doctor note indicating why I could not perform my daily task and also they wanted reason why I could not work modified hours. My doctor and physio wrote them letters indicating that I could not work and also the modified work hours that they requested. I was not approved for my short term they requested GWL wanted more letter from the doctor requesting the same thing again. Doctor and physio wrote them another letter stating that i could not return to work again. GWL still tern me down now I am appealing this case now they want the same thing again letter from the doctor, letter from my physio and also the testing that was done with my insurance company that they sent for second opinion through another physio. What I dont understand is why GWL did not get a second opinion from another doctor where my insurance company got a second opinion.
I'm still wanting for a decision for the appeal.

vincepowers said...

I have been battling GWL for a couple of years now in Edmonton AB. First my employer won my battle for LTD by pointing out their own policy to them so they were obligated to honor the contract. After years of medical tests, countless treatments, physiotherapy and even a referral to their chosen "third Party" remed program I still met the "definition of disability". Then came the infamous "Change of Definition of Disability" which magically gave them the right to deny my benefits because it was their "assessment" that I could find "gainful employment". After 5 months they finally gave in and retroactively paid me my rightful benefits. Then a "Transferable Skills Analysis" was ordered and I am now, yet again denied my benefits based on their "assessment". I am currently in the process of requesting the information that was sent to the TSA consultant because the TSA report (which I had to request a copy of) did not apply to my physical restrictions. It is important to request a copy of these reports and I also requested a complete copy of my entire file when the "Change of Definition of Disability" occurred. In my file I not only found that the phone logs had been copied in a biased manner geared of course to favor GWL's position but I also found a "Breach of Privacy" meaning my personal information was being shared with an UNAUTHORIZED THIRD PARTY. This is the direction I will now take to show these heartless insurers that even the little guy is not stupid and still has a voice. If anyone else has anything similar in their file I would be most interested to speak with you. I smell a CLASS ACTION !!!!

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