Ellen Bresnahan is head of our Insurance Appeals Department, which covers both life and disability (long-term and short-term) insurance appeals. Ellen comes to BenGlassLaw after retiring from her first career as an Intelligence Officer in the Navy reserves. Her first duty station was in Key West, Florida as an aviation intelligence officer with the VAQ-33 Firebirds, and her last was in Moscow, Russia as assistant naval attaché with the US Defense Attaché Office. In between she held some amazing jobs that let her travel all over and work with some truly inspirational peers and leaders. Ellen finds that while the worlds of military intelligence and insurance appeals may seem to be very different, they actually have a lot in common:
- Both require understanding, condensing and operationalizing vast amounts of data (like insurance claim files that can be 2,000+ pages!)
- Both are aimed at countering attempts to mislead and outright lie about the truth (looking at you, insurance companies who say that since our client who had a stroke can sit, she can work a sedentary job).
- Both measure victory not only by what does happen (benefits get restored) but also by what doesn’t happen (benefits never get denied in the first place).
Ellen says, “I love the BenGlassLaw mission of restoring something that has been taken away from people and empowering them to live their best lives. People who come to us after having been denied benefits are reeling. For one, they depended on this money, and that’s important for sure. But often what hurts even more is the sense of injustice – you had this insurance that you counted on without really thinking about it, and now some faceless insurance company paper pusher who has never even met you is basically calling you a liar. And they potentially have the last word – they can deny your benefits even when they’re wrong, even when their so-called “evidence” is made up, and those benefits are gone unless YOU file an appeal. I love that when we appeal, we don’t just focus on making dry legal arguments. We give people a voice to tell the insurance company (and potentially a judge) who our client is (not just “the stroke lady” or “the Lyme Disease guy”), what really happened to them, and exactly why what the insurance company has done is wrong. It feels great to restore someone’s benefits AND their sense of having not just taken this decision lying down, but having fought back. And won.”When she is not doing battle with heartless insurance companies, Ellen is watching her nest empty out as her youngest son is starting to look at life after high school. She has a daughter in college in New York City, and her oldest daughter just started medical school. Ellen loves both her neighborhood book club (which uses reading as an excuse to hang out together and try local restaurants) and her early AM running buddies. She is wondering how long she can still get mileage out of the fact that she ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2017 before she has to put up or shut up and run another one.