Many firefighters and police officers in the state of Colorado enjoy the benefits of the Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado (FPPA). The FPPA administers a state-wide, multiple-employer retirement system providing defined benefit plan coverage. In addition to pension benefits, death and disability coverage also exists.
For many fire districts and police departments, an additional long-term disability (LTD) insurance policy may have been obtained for firefighters and officers.
The disability attorneys at McDermott Law have represented many such individuals over the years. In the last 6 months, we have successfully pursued two disability claims in litigation on behalf of firefighters from the South Metro Fire District against its disability insurer, Hartford Life and Accident.
It is important to know that proving disability under the FPPA is quite different from establishing disability under a long-term disability insurance policy. This is especially true if LTD benefits have been paid for two years under the group policy at which time the definition of disability likely switches from the “own occupation” definition to “any occupation.” Firefighters and police officers are surprised to learn that the definition under these group policies has changed, and that the burden of proving disability is much higher than showing an inability to perform their previous job functions. Many of these individuals have had essentially one occupation their entire work life, that of a firefighter or police officer. At the “own occ” to “any occ” roll-over, the disability insurer often concludes that such individuals possess the necessary education, training, and experience to successfully pursue a new occupation and also earn a living at a level far beyond a basic entry-level person. We often find that the insurer’s vocational analysis performed by an employee of a disability insurer in these types of cases to be woefully inadequate, which does not fully and fairly analyze the disabled firefighters’ or officers’ true abilities to start a brand-new occupation so late in life.
The lawyers at McDermott Law, LLC are experienced in handling all types of disability insurance claims and have successfully pursued cases on behalf of disabled firefighters and police officers. Call us if you require a review of a denied claim.