What if life insurance policy benefits use to a lapse in payment?  Talk to an experienced life insurance lawyer.
Here is a 2000, opinion from the San Antonio Court of Appeals dealing with this issue.  The opinion is styled, MacIntire v. Armed Forces Benefit Ass’n.
Here are the Facts:  Linda and Scott MacIntire submitted a joint application for term life insurance to the Armed Forces Benefit Ass’n (AFBA) in April of 1996.  The payments were made automatically via a computerized bank deposit scheme, but for unknown reasons, the payments were never made.  The few payments that the MacIntires did make were not enough to keep the policy in force and it lapsed on March 31, 1998 according to AFBA.  Scott MacIntire died from a terminal illness in August of 1998 and Linda inquired regarding the policy in September of that year.  Upon discovery of the failed automatic deposit setup, Linda tried to pay delinquent payments directly to AFBA, but AFBA denied the payments and coverage, stating that Scott’s policy had already been cancelled.  Linda sued AFBA, alleging violation of the Texas Insurance Code, violation of the DTPA, breach of contract, negligence, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of implied warranty, ambiguity of contract, seeking to recover the death benefits and additional damages.  The trial court granted AFBA’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that no genuine issue of material fact existed.  Linda appealed, claiming that genuine issues of material fact existed in her claims for breach of contract, breach of implied warranty and ambiguity of contract, DTPA violations, Texas Insurance Code, Section 541.060, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and negligence.

Life insurance claims that are denied by an insurance company should always be put in front of an attorney who handles life insurance claims.  The vast majority of the time an attorney experienced in handling life insurance claims can help.
Here is a 2005 opinion from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that serve as an example of why claims denials should be presented to an experienced life insurance lawyer.  The opinion is styled Monumental Life Insurance Company v. Hayes-Jenkins.
Here are the Facts:  In November 2000, the insureds, husband and wife, purchased a house executing a mortgage note and an escrow agreement with the lender.  Two months later the lender, by agreement with the insurer, mailed an unsolicited application for a mortgage life insurance policy underwritten by the insurer.  All the enclosed materials promised a payoff of the mortgage balance up to $300,000 in the event of one of the insured’s death and emphasized a “no risk” 30 day trial.  The insureds promptly completed and mailed the application.  The husband died four days after the policy became effective, but before the mortgage company issued the first month’s premium payment and the wife demanded that the proceeds of the mortgage policy be applied to liquidate the remaining loan balance pursuant to the terms of the policy.  The insurer refused and filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a ruling that at the time of the husband’s death the policy was not in forced for failure by the insured to pay the required premium.  The wife counterclaimed against the insurer for breach of contract and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and DTPA.  She also filed a third-party complaint against the mortgage lender asserting claims for breach of the escrow agreement, negligence, and violations of the DTPA and Insurance Code.  The district court granted the insurer and the lender’s motion for summary judgement, dismissing all of the wife’s counterclaims and third party claims and this appeal followed.

Here is a 2007, United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion dealing with life insurance claims and “Good Health” clauses.  The opinion is styled, Assurity Life Insurance Company v. Grogan.
The insured purchased a $1,000,000.00 whole life insurance policy from the carrier with the condition precedent for coverage that the policy did not go into effect until the “first full premium was paid during the Proposed Insured’s lifetime and continued good health.”  Shortly after purchasing the policy, the insured had a biopsy performed on a lump on his neck and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  The insured died from complications a few months later.  The carrier brought a declaratory judgement action seeking a declaration that the life insurance policy never took effect due to the failure of a condition precedent.  The wife counter-claimed for breach of contract.  The carrier subpoenaed the insured’s medical records, which showed that the insured had ongoing medical treatment for issues related to the lump on his neck for the past several years.  The trial court held for the wife, finding that the insurance policy did take effect and that the wife was entitled to the proceeds.  The carrier appealed.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the “good health” condition precedent for coverage had not been met because although the Hodgkin’s disease had not been officially diagnosed before the policy took effect, it had manifested itself earlier through the insured’s ongoing neck problems.  The court found that the “good health” condition precedent was well established in Texas law and this case presented no exception which warranted coverage.  The policy unambiguously stated that in order for it to take effect, the insured/proposed insured must make the first premium payment while in good health.

Here is a 2008, life insurance misrepresentation case.  It is from the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  It is styled, Liu v. Fidelity and Guaranty Life Insurance Company.
Liu filled out a life insurance application which stated that he had not been diagnosed with cancer within the previous ten years.  The policy was issued two days after he was diagnosed with cancer.  The carrier denied coverage arguing that the representation in the application was a condition precedent.  The trial court found coverage and was affirmed on appeal.
The Fifth Circuit stated that: “Under Texas law, the responses given in a life insurance application are mere representations, rather than warranties that would be capable of making coverage void or voidable.  Short of inserting an unambiguous “good health warranty” demonstrating that the parties intended the contract to rise or fall on the literal truth of an insured’s general certification of good health.  Texas has not allowed an insurer to change that result by contracting to make truthful application answers a condition precedent to coverage.

When an insurance adjuster makes mistakes in handling a claim, it is usually necessary to sue the adjuster in addition to suing the insurance company.  The trick is properly suing the adjuster.
A 2023 opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, dealt with properly suing the insurance company adjuster.  The opinion is styled, Samurai Global, Inc., v. Rockford Kyle Brothers And Landmark American Insurance Company.
This case had a few legal issues going on at the same time but what is relevant here is the Court points out the proper way to make allegations against the insurance company adjuster.

Many life insurance cases are fights between potential beneficiaries of the life insurance policy.  That was the case in this 2023, opinion from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.  The opinion is styled, Tommy Marion v. Principal Life Insurance Company and Nicky B. Thompson.
Marion sued Principal Life and Thompson alleging that Thompson fraudulently removed Marion as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy taken out by now-deceased John Thompson.
The facts of the case can be ciphered by reading the case.  Thompson filed a motion to dismiss Marion’s claim.  Here we will deal with the law regarding the alleged fraud.

An insurance lawyer is frequently asked about whether or not attorney fees can be recovered by a successful claimant. The short answer is “yes.”  But only if you give proper notice.
This issue is discussed in a 2023 opinion from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.  The opinion is styled, Henry & Lydia Ansah v. Nationwide Property And Casualty Insurance Company.
The Ansah’s had property insurance through Nationwide.  It is alleged the Ansah’s suffered storm damages and filed a claim with Nationwide that ultimately ended up in a lawsuit.

Insurance lawyers know that they must give proper warning to an insurance company before suing the insurance company.  Failure to do so puts a stop to a subsequent lawsuit.
This is illustrated in a 2023 opinion from the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division.  The opinion is styled, Laura Navarro v. State Farm Lloyds.
Navarro filed a claim with State Farm for hail and windstorm damage.  Unhappy with State Farm’s response, Navarro sent a notice letter to State Farm pursuant to Texas Insurance Code, Section 542A.003.  Among other things, the letter states that:  (1) Navarro suffered damages caused by State Farm’s adjustment and investigation of Navarro’s claim: (2) the unpaid policy benefits were $21,157.31; and (3) the attorney fees were $8,000.

When is the deadline for filing a law suit against an insurance company that refuses to fully pay on a claim?
This is usually a simple answer.  It was the main issue in a 2023 opinion issued by the Fort 
Worth Court of Appeals in a case styled, Kenneth Kessler v. Allstate Fire And Casualty Insurance Company.

Insurance lawyers who handle claims being denied are usually asked whether not their attorney fees can be recovered.  The answer is usually a “Yes” but their are requirements to be met in order to recover those attorney fees.  One of those requirements include giving a pre-suit notice letter in proper form.

In cases where the loss has resulted from an act of nature such as hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, freezes, etc. there is a further loop that must be followed involving the timing of the pre-suit notice letter.

Here is a 2023, opinion from the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, that is worth reading.  It is styled, Curt Adkisson v. Safeco Insurance Company Of Indiana.

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