Manulife Denies Disability Benefits to Bank Teller with Depression and Anxiety

Manulife Denies Disability Benefits to Bank Teller with Depression and Anxiety

Our client, the plaintiff, worked as a bank teller with one of Canada’s leading banks for over 13 years. She became totally disabled from performing the main duties of her occupation after struggling with mental health issues that worsened over a period of four years. These included major depressive disorder, adjustment disorder, anxiety, insomnia and concentration difficulties. Her health conditions were further aggravated by the challenges and responsibilities of being primary caregiver to her ill spouse.

When her husband’s health took a turn for the worst, the plaintiff was unable to cope and suffered a nervous breakdown. She stopped working and filed a claim for short-term disability benefits through her employer’s group insurance plan with Manulife.

After reviewing her medical records, Manulife rejected her claim for disability benefits on the basis that she was on “compassionate care leave” and not on sick leave due to a disability.

The plantiff underwent an independent medical examination (IME) with a doctor chosen by the insurance company and was told that she was well enough to return to work on a gradual basis. Her own psychiatrist strongly disagreed and stated to Manulife that if her patient returned to work at that juncture, it would be detrimental to her recovery. In fact, the insurance company’s biased and discriminatory conduct was causing severe and undue hardship for the plaintiff.

Share Lawyers sued Manulife for failing to take reasonable steps to assess, process and administer the plaintiff’s claim and for denying the plaintiff’s claim contrary to the weight of medical evidence confirming her inability to work. After a round of aggressive negotiations between Share Lawyers and Manulife’s lawyers, a lump-sum settlement was awarded to the plaintiff.

The financial security afforded by the settlement gave our client the peace of mind necessary to continue with the treatment plan recommended by her doctors with the goal of returning to work when she was fully recovered.*

*All names and identifying details have been changed for confidentiality purposes.

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