Vocational Experts: Challenges and Difficulty in Finding Qualified and Newer Experts, Lack of Universal Standard for Qualifying Vocational Experts, Determining Occupational Demand and Suitability for Work, Assessment of Own Occupation, Any Occupation, Dual Occupation
Ellen Rader Smith, MA, OTR, CVE, CPE
Licensed Occupational Therapist Certified Vocational Evaluator & Certified Professional Ergonomist Ergo & Rehab Services
- Use of depositions
- Challenges and difficulty with vocational issues
- What resources are most appropriately used by insurers for purposes of determining occupational demand and suitability for work
- What affect does the insurance company reliance on DOL standards play into claims evaluation?
- What are the standards used to define: “Own Occupation” and “Any Occupation”?
- How to define the material duties of a claimant’s “occupation” under an “own occupation” provision
- The latest on “true own occupation” vs. “transitional own occupation”
- The latest issues and challenges associated with defining one’s occupation “in the national economy”
- What is the standard to determine whether the claimant can return to work?
- Proving the inability to return to work for the first 2 years
- Proving the inability to work in another occupation for the next several years
- What happens when the insured is not working at the time of disability?
- Navigating the implications and arising challenges when there is a change of definition from “own occupation” to “any occupation”
- How do different LTD policies define the “any occupation” standard, and what are the implications of the different definitions?
- Defining and interpreting “gainful” employment
- Treatment of sedentary occupations in LTD claims
- Determining whether a claimant is constrained by financial pressures and returns to work disabled
- Understanding the Physician-Specific classifications/standards of “Modified Own Occupation” and “Medical Occupation” – what do these classifications mean and what effect do they have on entitlement to benefits?
- Recent litigation trend in long term disability cases involving professionals, and especially doctors
- Tightening clauses in the policy and defining exactly the material duties of a claimant’s occupation
- Examining the approaches taken by insurance carriers in processing/evaluating vocational reports submitted by disability claimants
- Recent challenges arising from claimants with dual occupations