Articles Posted in Life Insurance

Most life insurance policies have a section / rider that allows for an acceleration of the life insurance benefits.  It is also a source of litigation because the life insurance companies have a strong tendency to deny claims made for these benefits.

Insure.com published an article on this subject in September 2019.  The article is titled, Accelerated Benefit Riders: How Your Life Insurance Can Help You While You’re Still Alive.

The article tells us , as life expectancy creeps to 80 years old, more Americans are turning to life insurance to help them while they’re still alive.  One example is an accelerated benefits rider (ABR).

This case is a dispute over who is entitled to the life insurance proceeds.  The case is from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and is styled, John Hancock Life Insurance Company v. Marilyn J. Greer, Individually, As Independent Executor of The Estate of Marilyn B. Greer, and As Trustee of The Marilyn J. Greer Trust; and The Estate of William J. Greer.

William owned and was the sole named beneficiary of the policy at issue, which was a policy insuring the life of his mother Mary.  William predeceased Mary.  Mary then died.

The executor of William’s estate is Kennedy.

Here is a case arising out of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) which involves life insurance.  The case is from the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division.  It is styled, Elizabeth Hernandez v. Unum Group v. Sara Hernandez and Jose Hernandez.

The basic Facts are that Xavier Hernandez had a policy of live insurance with his employer that was part of an ERISA plan.  On May 24, 2018, Xavier was killed in an auto accident.

From August 2015, until May 2018, Xavier was married to Sara Hemandez.  In January 2018, Xavier designated Sara as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy.  Weeks before Xavier’s death, he and Sara divorced.  The divorce decree indicates that both Sara and Xavier were present at the proceeding and does not mention Xavier’s life insurance policy.  Sara represents that, at the time of the divorce, she was unaware that she was the beneficiary under Xavier,s policy and only became aware once Xavier’s employer advised her of her status.  She maintains that she did not waive her rights as a beneficiary under the policy in the divorce decree or elsewhere.

Life insurance claims which are denied, often end up being litigated in Federal Court and thus, have to be analyzed differently than when in State Court.  Here is a case from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, which illustrates why an experienced insurance law attorney is needed.  The opinion is styled, State Farm Life Insurance Company v. Mae Katheryn Bryant and Amy Cannon.

This is an interpleader case.  The ruling is the result of State Farm filing a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss and a Rule 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss.

Bryant and Cannon both claimed to be entitled to the insurance proceeds after the death of Cannon’s deceased ex-husband.  The Court eventually ruled that Bryant was entitled to the money.  As a result of that ruling, State Farm requested that the Court dismiss Cannon’s claim against State Farm.

Life insurance claims which are denied, often end up being litigated in Federal Court.  Here is a case from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, which illustrates why an experienced insurance law attorney is needed, particularly when the case is going to be litigated in Federal Court.  The opinion discusses more than will be discussed here and is a must read for lawyers handling a case in Federal Court.  The opinion is styled, State Farm Life Insurance Company v. Mae Katheryn Bryant and Amy Cannon.

This is an interpleader case.  The ruling is the result of State Farm filing a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss and a Rule 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss.

Factually, Cannon and Bryant both submitted claims to recover Policy proceeds of $300,000.00 after the insured’s death.  Cannon contends that she is entitled to the policy proceeds as the primary beneficiary under the Policy.  Bryant maintains that she is entitled to the Policy proceeds as the successor beneficiary under the Policy and as the mother and heir of her son because the Insured’s and Cannon’s divorce decree did not designate Cannon as a beneficiary under the Policy,and the Insured did not re-designate Cannon as his beneficiary under the Policy after their divorce as required by Texas law.  The Court eventually ruled against Cannon being entitled to any policy proceeds.

Insurance lawyers will get frequent phone calls from a life insurance beneficiary wherein the beneficiary had a spouse who has died and that spouse had life insurance that had been obtained through their employer/work.  This was the case in a recent opinion from the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division.  The style of the case is Vanessa St. Pierre v. Dearborn National Life Insurance Company.

The facts of this case a somewhat confusing the opinion needs to be read to get what the exact facts were in this case.  However, the law related to insurance coverage when it is purchased through employment is discussed and knowing about this law is important when it comes to being able to properly discuss with clients the possible outcome in a case.

Quoting from the case:

This life insurance claim opinion is from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, and is styled, Wharlest Jackson v. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company.

Among other causes of action, Jackson has sued Farmers under an insurance policy for violation of the “Prompt Payment of Claims Act.” Farmers has filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit based on the allegation that Jackson has not properly pled a violation of the Prompt Payment of Claims Act against Farmers.  The Court reviewed the papers filed with the Court and discussed and ruled as follows.

Crystal Jackson purchased a life insurance policy from Farmers.  Wharlest Jackson was the sole beneficiary of the policy.  Crystal died in a motorcycle accident and Wharlest made a claim which Farmers denied based on alleged misrepresentations in the policy application.

This life insurance claim opinion is from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, and is styled, Wharlest Jackson v. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company.

Among other causes of action, Jackson has sued Farmers under an insurance policy for violation of the “duty of good faith and fair dealing.” Farmers has filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit based on the allegation that Jackson has not properly pled a violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing against Farmers.  The Court reviewed the papers filed with the Court and discussed and ruled as follows.

Crystal Jackson purchased a life insurance policy from Farmers.  Wharlest Jackson was the sole beneficiary of the policy.  Crystal died in a motorcycle accident and Wharlest made a claim which Farmers denied based on alleged misrepresentations in the policy application.

This life insurance claim opinion is from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, and is styled, Wharlest Jackson v. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company.

Among other causes of action, Jackson has sued Farmers under an insurance policy for violations of the Texas Insurance Code. Farmers has filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit based on the allegation that Jackson has not properly pled violation of Texas Insurance Code, Section 541.060 against Farmers.  The Court reviewed the papers filed with the Court and discussed and ruled as follows.

Crystal Jackson purchased a life insurance policy from Farmers.  Wharlest Jackson was the sole beneficiary of the policy.  Crystal died in a motorcycle accident and Wharlest made a claim which Farmers denied based on alleged misrepresentations in the policy application.

This life insurance claim opinion is from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, and is styled, Wharlest Jackson v. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company.

Among other causes of action, Jackson has sued Farmers under an insurance policy for violations of the Texas Insurance Code. Farmers has filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit based on the allegation that Jackson has not properly pled violations of Texas Insurance Code, Sections 541.051 and 541.061 claim against Farmers.  The Court reviewed the papers filed with the Court and discussed and ruled as follows.

Crystal Jackson purchased a life insurance policy from Farmers.  Wharlest Jackson was the sole beneficiary of the policy.  Crystal died in a motorcycle accident and Wharlest made a claim which Farmers denied based on alleged misrepresentations in the policy application.

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