It is not uncommon first a life insurance lawyer to run across a situation where the issue is, Did the insured change the beneficiary of the life insurance policy.
Here is a 1953, Texas Supreme Court opinion dealing with this issue.  It is styled, Creighton v. Barnes.
Petitioners, the mother, daughter and a sister of B. B. Barnes, as the named beneficiaries of the two Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company policies, filed this suit against the Insurance Company for the proceeds of the two policies.  The Insurance Company answered with an interpleader suit, wherein it impleaded respondent, the third wife and surviving widow of B. B. Barnes, and said that all of the petitioners and the respondent were claiming the right to the proceeds of both policies, and tendered the money into court, and asked the court to decide which of the claimants were entitled to receive the funds, and asked that it be discharged with its costs and attorneys’ fees.  Respondent answered claiming the proceeds by virtue of the will of B. B. Barnes.

A vacancy exclusion is common in most policies insuring structures unless it is a type of policy that specifically provides that type of coverage.  Here is a 2024 opinion wherein the insurer denied coverage under a renters policy due to the insured not living in or occupying the property.  The opinion is from the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.  It is styled, Crystal Childers and Bradley Childers v. Allstate Indemnity Company.
The Childers bought a second home as an investment rental property in 2021.  The home required repairs and remodeling before it could be rented.  While the home was being worked on and through March 29, 2022, no one lived there.
The Allstate policy contained the two coverage exceptions:

It is one thing to sue your insurance company for doing you wrong.  It is another thing to prove the costs of what they should have done for you.  Here is a 2024 opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, that discusses this issue.  It is styled, Brian and Shannon Hart v. State Farm Lloyds.
The Harts suffered a loss to their home and their insurer is State Farm.  The Harts made a claim and a lengthy dispute arose between them and State Farm as to the costs of repairs.  A relevant fact in this case is that the repairs were not performed.  A lawsuit resulted.
After time for discovery had passed, State Farm filed a motion for summary judgment asserting the Harts were unable to prove their claim.

Here is a 2024 opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, that deals with an insurance policy.  Specifically, the wording of an insurance policy.  The opinion is styled, Johnetta Askew Hunt v. Meridian Security Insurance Company State Auto Insurance Companies.
This is a summary judgment opinion regarding “residing” at a premises.  The case deals with the coverage provided by a policy and where an insured, Hunt, tries to get more coverage than the policy provides.
In Texas, interpretation of an insurance policy begins with its actual words, because it is presumed parties intend what the words of their contract say.

Insurance lawyers need to read this November 2023, opinion from the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division.  It is styled, Bertha Salinas v. State Farm Lloyds.
The relevant facts are undisputed,  Bertha sued State Farm for denying her claim against her homeowners policy due to a weather event on July 26, 2020.  State Farm paid some sums of money on the claim but did not pay what Bertha alleges she was owed.  On April 16, 2021, State Farm sent a letter explaining it was denying further payment on the claim.  Upon receipt of the letter, Bertha invoked the appraisal provision under the policy.  State Farm participated in the appraisal but did so under a reservation of rights.  In the appraisal process an umpire ultimately ruled against State Farm on March 30, 2023.  The attorney for Bertha sent a written inquiry about payment of the appraisal.  On June 30, 2023, State Farm stated they would not be paying the appraisal award.  State Farm argued about problems with the appraisal.  Bertha filed suit on July 18, 2023.
State Farm moved for summary judgment on the case due to the statute of limitations having run on two years after their April 16, 2021, thus, the filing date of July 18, 2023, was too late.

When can a person recover attorney fees in an insurance lawsuit?  There is not an easy answer to that question.  It is dependent on the facts of the case and the theories of law being alleged against the insurance company.
A 2024 opinion from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, addresses this issue when the claim is filed invoking Texas Insurance Code, Section 542A.003(a) and 542A.007(d).  The style of this opinion is, Ashley and Walter Burke v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.
The Burks (Plaintiffs) filed this action against Liberty for breach of contract, common law bad faith, violations sections 541 of the Texas Insurance Code, and violations of the Texas DTPA.  Plaintiffs allege that they sent a presuit letter to Liberty on January 24, 2022, outlining Plaintiffs’ alleged damages and expenses pursuant to Section 542A.003.

A typical exclusion found in accidental death policies is an exclusion for death resulting from aviation actions.  This exclusion is discussed in a 1997 opinion from the Austin Court of Appeals.  The opinion is styled, Board of Trustees of Employer’s Retirement System of Texas v. Benge.
The facts of this case show that the insured flew his plane in an air show.  When he landed, his plane went into a “ground loop,” turning completely around before coming to a stop in the neighboring runway.  Another plane collided with the insured’s plane.  The insured suffered injuries resulting in his death.  The insured’s widow sought accidental death benefits.  The carrier denied recovery based upon the policy’s aviation exclusion.  After a contested case hearing, the Board denied the claim in a Final Order.  The insured’s widow sought judicial review.  The district court upheld the Board’s finding that the insured had been engaged in air flight or travel which was excluded, but remanded on other grounds.  The Board and the insurer appealed.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that although the plane had landed, the insured had not disembarked and, therefore, the insured was still engaged in travel or flight.  The policy excluded “travel or flight in any vehicle or devise for aerial navigation, including boarding or alighting therefrom.”  Even though the plane was standing still on the runway, the insured had not disembarked.  The exclusion defines travel or flight as including boarding and alighting from the plane.

What if an insured is killed while committing a burglary?  Is that covered in the policy as an accident?
A 1997, Dallas Court of Appeals opinion responds to this question.  The opinion is styled, Grant v. Group Life & Health Insurance Company.
Grant used a pry bar to break into a residence of Stokes.  When Grant entered the residence Stokes shot him five times, killing him.  Grant’s wife sued Group Life to recover benefits under an accident policy for the death of her husband.  Group Life moved for summary judgment o the basis that Grant died while committing a burglary and, therefore, his death was not accidental.  The trial court granted the summary judgment and Grant appealed.

Is it suicide or an accident?  Here is a 1998, Austin Court of Appeals opinion styled, Butler v. Group Life And Health Insurance Company discussing this topic.
During a social occasion, the decedent and a number of his friends picked up an unloaded gun, and began to point the gun into their mouths and pull the trigger.  At some point, ammunition was placed into the gun.  Decedent did not know this.  After the gun was loaded, but while decedent still believed it was not loaded, decedent picked up the gun, pointed it in his mouth, pulled the trigger and killed himself.  Decedent’s beneficiary made a claim for life insurance benefits, accidental death benefits and attorney’s fees and interest under the Prompt Payment of Claims Act.  The policy in questions was issued by Group Life and Health Insurance Co. under the terms of the Texas Employees Uniform Group Insurance Act (the Act).  The Board administering the policy denied the policy because decedent died as a result of intentionally self-inflicted injuries and because his death was not accidental.  The district court affirmed and Butler appealed.
Accidental death and life benefits are payable.  The claims under the Prompt Payment of Claims Act and attorney fees remained denied.

Here is a 1999 case where the named beneficiary of a life insurance policy alleges the insured was not competent to cancel the policy.  The opinion is from the United State Northern District of Texas.  It is styled, Benbow v. All American Life Insurance Company, et al.
All American Life Insurance Company and General American Life Insurance Company each insured Daniel Benbow under whole life insurance policies that provided coverage of $100,000.  Approximately seven months before Daniel’s death, letters were sent to both carriers requesting cancellation of the policies and further requesting that the carriers remit any accumulated cash value of the policies.  Both carriers honored the request and issued checks to Daniel for the current value of the policies.  After Daniel’s death, Diana Benbow contacted the carriers and notified them that Daniel suffered from a bipolar disorder, and she requested that the carriers deem the cancellation of the policies to be invalid.  The carriers contended that the policies had been surrendered, and they refused to pay the claim for benefits.  Diana then sued both carriers in state court alleging breach of contract and violations of the Texas Insurance Code.  Thereafter the carriers moved for summary judgment on all causes of action.
The motions for summary judgment were granted.  With regard to the insurance code violations, the carriers timely acknowledged the claim for benefits.
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