Desjardins to review mental health case after claimant’s letter goes viral

By Andrea Lubeck | February 14 2018 09:45AM

Photo: Freepik

An open letter by a disability claimant published in Montreal’s La Presse +, has prompted Desjardins Insurance to announce that it is reviewing his case. The insurer also affirmed that less than five per cent of its mental health claims are refused.

In his letter, published Feb. 11, Samuel Archibald, an author and professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, says he suffers from depression and that he has been on sick leave since the fall. In the letter, he recounts his battle with Desjardins Insurance, which refused to pay his disability payments after catching wind that Archibald had participated in certain professional activities during his leave, for example, reading poems on the radio and speaking for 10 minutes on television.

The letter prompted La Presse columnist Patrick Lagacé to write a column expressing his outrage on the subject. The column, published Feb. 12, is available here in French. To read the open letter, also in French, click here. Both the letter and column were widely shared on social media.

In response, Desjardins issued a press release on Feb. 12, which stated that it will review the case. “Desjardins is aware of the open letter by Samuel Archibald published February 11 on La Presse +. We sympathize with Mr. Archibald's situation and, given that this file was never reviewed, we immediately began the process yesterday. We will maintain communication with Mr. Archibald and his employer, whose group insurance plan we administer.”

Less than five per cent of mental health claims declined

Desjardins also underlined that only a low number of mental health claims are rejected. “Close to half of our group insurance claims are disability cases, and less than five per cent of mental health claims are declined. It's important to note that each claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, while consulting with the insured, experts—including the attending physicians—and the employer.”

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