There Must Be Intent To Deceive

Palo Pinto life insurance lawyers who handle life insurance claims that are denied need to read this case from the Houston Division of Texas Southern District. The case is styled, Kirk v. Kemper Investors Life Insurance Company. The case deals with misrepresentations made in an application for life insurance.
This case arises from a life insurance policy issued by Kemper Investors Life Insurance Company (“KILICO”) to Walta G. Kirk, on March 14, 2002. Ms. Kirk passed away on August 31, 2003, while the policy was in effect. Because her death occurred within two years of the policy’s issuance, KILICO conducted a routine investigation, which revealed that Ms. Kirk had been treated for chest pain, respiratory disorder, mental disorder, and uncontrolled high blood pressure. Ms. Kirk had denied that she had ever had or been treated for any of these conditions in her application for the KILICO life insurance policy. Based on these alleged misrepresentations, KILICO denied payment of any benefits on the policy.
The beneficiaries then filed this lawsuit. KILCO filed a motion for summary judgment saying stating Kirk misrepresented her medical conditions.
Before reaching the evidence as to Ms. Kirk’s intent to deceive KILICO, the Court had to resolve the parties’ disagreement as to whether the element of intent to deceive can ever be proved as a matter of law in a summary judgment proceeding. As KILICO correctly points out, the Fifth Circuit has interpreted a past Texas Supreme Court’s decision implying that an insured’s intent to deceive or induce issuance of an insurance policy can, under Texas law, be established as a matter of law. The decision pointed out by KILICO is a rare exception based on unusual facts in that case.
This Court decided that it must conclude that, under Texas law, an insured’s intent to deceive may not be proved by summary judgment evidence of the insured’s knowledge of their actual health condition or of even substantial disparity between the representations made on the insurance application and the insured’s knowledge. Here, KILICO has offered significant evidence that Ms. Kirk was aware that she suffered from chest pain, respiratory disorder, mental disorder, and uncontrolled high blood pressure. KILICO has also presented evidence that Ms. Kirk worked in a hospital at various times from 1967 until her death, at times taking information from patients as part of the admitting process. KILICO urged that “Ms. Kirk’s misrepresentations were therefore so outrageous and removed from the truth that the inevitable conclusion is that she intended to deceive KILICO.”
While a jury might indeed conclude from KILICO’s substantial evidence that Ms. Kirk intended to deceive KILICO by knowingly providing false information on her insurance application, however, this does not warrant a summary judgment that Ms. Kirk possessed the requisite intent to deceive, under Texas law. Thus, KILICO’s motion for summary judgment on its defense of misrepresentation was denied. Because KILICO has proved the other four elements of its misrepresentation defense — that Ms. Kirk made representations on her insurance application, that these representations were false, that KILICO relied on the representations, and that the representations were material — summary judgment is GRANTED for KILICO as to those elements. Accordingly, the only issue remaining to be tried, with respect to KILICO’s defense of misrepresentation, was Ms. Kirk’s intent to deceive.

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