Life Insurance Lawyer Alabama

Whether you reside in: Decatur; Dothan; Hoover; Tuscaloosa; Huntsville; Mobile; Montgomery or Birmingham, our life insurance attorneys who live and work here in Alabama are here to help resolve your delayed or denied life insurance claim.

Alabama Denied Life Insurance Claims Recently Settled

  • Transamerica Life Insurance beneficiary contest $500,000.00
  • Gerber Life Insurance Denial misrepresentation $308,422.00
  • New York Life Insurance Denied suicide exclusion $104,000.00
  • American General Life beneficiary dispute ex-spouse $500,000.00
  • Montgomery interpleader lawsuit won by our firm $305,000.00
  • AARP Life Insurance delay due to medical records $250,000.00
  • Prudential Life Insurance felony exclusion resolved $300,000.00
  • Alabama interpleader life insurance claim $750,000.00
  • SGLI claim resolved the beneficiary dispute $400,000.00
  • Decatur no coverage at the time of death $630,000.00
  • ERISA life insurance appeal won by our law firm $143,000.00
  • Hoover ambiguous language of the policy won $762,000.00
  • Birmingham life insurance exclusion resolved $825,000
  • Alabama denied life insurance claim $1,050,000.00
  • Transamerica Life Insurance accidental death $150,000.00
  • VGLI claim resolved by our firm $400,000.00
  • Tuscaloosa bad faith life insurance $745,000.00
  • Huntsville when life insurance claims denied $883,000.00
  • Globe Life Insurance beneficiary change $400,000.00
  • Dothan illegal activity exclusion won by us $839,000.00
  • Primerica Life insurance exclusions $100,000.00
  • Met Life prescription drug exclusion $750,000.00
  • Colonial Penn Life divorce denial/dispute $200,000.00
  • Mobile competing beneficiaries resolved $700,000.00
  • Alabama bad faith life insurance claim $893,000.00
  • TSGLI appeal which was won quickly
  • AAA Life Insurance Autoerotic asphyxiation $105,000.00
  • SGLI dispute between beneficiaries $400,000.00
  • Alabama ERISA life insurance claim $214,000.00
  • Denied life insurance claim Alabama $830,000.00
  • Alabama divorce and life insurance $600,000.00
  • MetLife denied life insurance claim fraud $300,000.00
  • FEGLI denied life insurance claim $107,000.00
  • Auburn life insurance denial attorney $328,000.00
  • Senior Life self-inflicted injury denial $100,000.00
  • Guardian Life delay medical records $90,000.00
  • Global exclusion overcome by us $100,000.00
  • AIG interpleader between brothers $300,000.00

Tell the truth in your life insurance application

Your insurance company may still claim that you lied but the truth always prevails

Anyone who has been in and around the insurance industry knows a universal truth – insurance companies are in business to generate massive profits and they will stop at nothing to make that happen. This is particularly true with life insurance companies. So long as they can collect premiums and deny claims, their profits go through the roof.

One of the ways life insurance companies justify claim denials is to assert that the policyholder lied in his insurance application. Specifically, if they can unearth a lie after the policyholder passes away, then claim that they never would have issued the policy if they’d known the truth, they can often avoid paying claims for death benefits.

They get away with this based on a legal principle known as “material misrepresentation.” In essence, the law of material misrepresentation says that if two parties are negotiating a contract, one party lies during negotiations about something that is important to the contractual relationship, and the other party relies on that mistruth in entering the contract, then the person who relied to his detriment can avoid his contractual obligations altogether.

Life insurance companies have built their business processes around the concept of eliciting material representations that they can later use to justify claim denials. Specifically, they use long, detailed health questionnaires during the application process. These forms ask for excruciating levels of detail. Indeed, some life insurers require annual updates to the forms just to provide policyholders with additional opportunities to trip up.

Such was the case for one man living in Connecticut. Because the details of his situation are so indicative of the games life insurers play with material misrepresentations, we’ll examine his case in depth within this article.

Sometimes you just don’t know

In 2008, a 48 year-old, healthy Connecticut man named John sought to obtain a life insurance policy. John was rather wealthy and therefore sought a $10 million policy naming his wife, Catherine, as the sole beneficiary. He wanted to make sure Catherine would be comfortable should anything happen to hasten his death.

As part of the application process, John was required to fill out a lengthy health questionnaire. At the top and the bottom of the questionnaire, the following language appeared in bold type:

By submitting and signing this questionnaire, I warrant and represent that all of my answers are true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I understand that my insurance company will rely on my answers in determining whether I am eligible for coverage and, if so, in determining my premium.

John filled out the questionnaire over a period of several hours. At one point, he got to a question that read, “Have you been to an ear, nose, and throat doctor within the past two years?” John answered “No,” which was true at the time. What he did not reveal is that he had an appointment later that week with an ear, nose, and throat specialist to try to figure out why he had been experiencing vertigo.

John’s application was reviewed and he was approved for a $10 million policy, with the caveat that he would be required to resubmit a health questionnaire each year that the policy remained in effect. During the first year, John’s vertigo only got worse. He ended up seeing his ear, nose, and throat doctor several times, and had several medical tests related to his condition.

When it came time to fill out his first annual health questionnaire, John again came to the question regarding ear, nose, and throat doctors. This time, he answered affirmatively that he had seen the specialist in the past 12 months. When the questionnaire then asked if he had received a diagnosis from that physician, John answered “No.” Technically, that wasn’t a lie. John did not have a final diagnosis at that time, though his doctor had shared the suspicion that John was suffering from a brain tumor.

Indeed, later tests would confirm that John did have a brain tumor. John died from that condition prior to entering into his second policy term. John’s wife submitted a claim to his life insurance company. After a period of review, they denied the claim outright.

Did John make material misrepresentations?

Following its own investigation, the insurance company decided that John had made material misrepresentations in his insurance application. Specifically, the company claimed that John should have revealed in the initial questionnaire that he had an appointment scheduled with a specialist. Furthermore, the insurer claimed John was untruthful when he claimed in his first annual health questionnaire that he did not have a diagnosis. The company claimed they never would have continued his policy if they had known the suspicions about the brain tumor.

John’s wife was devastated. Fortunately, she contacted an attorney who specializes in the denial of life insurance claims. Together, they were able to piece together evidence showing that John had not technically made any false statements in his health questionnaires. They took the life insurance company to court and prevailed against its material misrepresentation defense.

In deciding the case, the court did note that it was an incredibly close call. While the judge agreed that John hadn’t technically lied, he struggled with the idea that John possessed information that probably should have been disclosed to the insurer. Because the insurance company did not specifically ask for it, however, the judge he had no choice but to award John’s wife the $10 million in policy proceeds.

John’s case is not unusual. Life insurance companies rely on alleged material misrepresentations all the time in denying claims. As attorneys who specialize in contesting such denials, we know how to build a case that will overcome denials on this basis. If you or a loved one have recently had a life insurance claim denied, please call us. We’re here to help.

Alabama denied life insurance claims are nothing new. Existing for many years, life insurance policies have been used to safeguard families and friends alike in case emergencies or accidents come unexpectedly. Unfortunately, denials of life insurance claims, as well as delays, are commonplace.
Our life insurance lawyers who live and work in Alabama can help, whether you are in: Birmingham; Montgomery; Mobile; Huntsville; Tuscaloosa; Hoover; Dothan; Decatur or anywhere in the state of Alabama, we will get you the benefits to which you are entitled.
Alabama Life Insurance Law
Policies through work are governed under ERISA. The primary regulating force here in Alabama is Title 27 of the Code of Alabama, and oversight is provided by the Alabama Department of Insurance.
Most Common Reasons for a Denied Life Insurance Claim in Alabama
  • Number one is a misrepresentation on the application. This typically involves failing to disclose a medical condition. However, we can get over this hurdle the majority of the time.
  • A lapse of a life insurance policy is probably second most common. What happens is that the insured gets sick and misses a payment or two. These are tough, but often we can get these claims paid.
  • Probably third is the type of death exclusion. This could be a suicide or it could be a self-inflicted injury. Murder is another exclusion. Health again can fall under this exclusion. We often win suicide exclusions as we cite case law that the death was actually accidental.
  • A very common exclusion is the alcohol exclusion. The insured may have been killed in a car crash, but the autopsy revealed alcohol in the person’s system. We have many legal briefs to combat this exclusion.
  • Heroin and opiates or illegal drug exclusion is one of the biggest now. With the opioid crisis, there are tens of thousands of deaths.
  • Prescription drug overdose exclusion may involve an overdose of medicine or taken medicines that are contraindicated.
  • An ex-spouse being cut off from life insurance benefits is a big one. We actually have a half dozen ways to get over this hurdle.
  • Having a spouse not listed as a beneficiary is another reason for denial
  • Having a child not listed as a beneficiary is one too.
  • Having only a primary beneficiary who is deceased is another.
  • On an AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment) life insurance policy, a fall not being considered an accident is extremely common.
  • The insured’s age not being correct on the initial application is a reason for denial.
  • Having the wrong social security number listed is common.
  • An autoerotic asphyxiation exclusion is an easy one for us to beat.
  • An omission on the application is a big reason for denying a life insurance claim, but we have legal briefs to this effect.
  • Not providing the required documents to the insurance company after death is a reason.
  • Information which is argued to not be correct is one.
  • When there is a dispute between two or more beneficiaries, an interpleader may occur, and we always get these resolved quickly.
  • A beneficiary not named is a reason for not paying it out.
  • A life insurance policy may be transferred from one company to another by the employer which causes major problems.
Dealing with denial of a life insurance claim in Alabama
What the life insurance companies won’t tell you
The death of a loved one can be an earth-shattering event. On top of the grief you may be feeling, you might also need to deal with a variety of tasks related to the deceased’s estate. One of those tasks, of course, is making claims against any existing life insurance policies.
You may be dismayed to find, however, that life insurance companies don’t necessarily make this an easy process. They don’t make money by paying claims indiscriminately. Thus, you’re likely to face more complications than you’d like when you’re just trying to collect a valid death benefit.
The tricks life insurance companies use to delay or deny payment are vast. Sometimes, they request a mountain of paperwork. Other times, they may declare a decedent’s death a suicide even when the county coroner ruled the death an accident. We’ve seen other instances where insurers tried to avoid payment by claiming the deceased had an undisclosed pre-existing condition (when the decedent never even knew he had the condition at the time the policy was initiated). In all of these situations, we’ve had to step in and fight for our clients to receive the death benefits they were clearly owed.
Fortunately, the State of Alabama allows for a couple of distinct court claims against insurers that deny payment to deserving beneficiaries. We discuss each of those claims below.
Breach of contract
A life insurance policy, at its core, is nothing but a contract between the insurer and the insured. The policyholder agrees to make premium payments and, in exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay beneficiaries a defined death benefit when the policyholder dies.
Of course, as with any contract, both parties need to play by the rules during the course of the agreement. The policyholder, for example, must be honest with the insurance company when he is applying for insurance. This is because the insurance company sets both premium rates and payout amounts based on the truthfulness of that information. If a policyholder is substantially dishonest during the application process, the insurance company may not be contractually obligated to pay a death benefit when that person dies.
Of course, the insurance company also has to play fair. When a policyholder dies having complied with all his obligations under the life insurance policy, the insurer is required to pay the death benefit. Policyholders actually have a great track record of complying with policy terms. Nonetheless, upwards of 40% of life insurance claims are initially denied.
In these cases, it is our job to call the insurance company on their clear breach of contract. In most instances, they know they are in breach, but are seeing how much they can get away with against bereaved loved ones who may not fully understand the ins and outs of the policy language.
Although life insurance companies are notoriously litigious, they typically don’t want to waste time defending a weak lawsuit. Fortunately, they know that Alabama courts don’t take policy breaches by insurers lightly. Accordingly, once a qualified life insurance claim denial attorney shows up to represent the beneficiary, the insurance companies typically stop playing games and pay the death benefit as required.
Bad faith
Generally speaking, Alabama law requires that all contracts be carried out with “good faith and fair dealing.” In laymen’s terms, this simply means that a party to a contract shouldn’t lie, cheat, or steal to get out of its obligations.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what life insurance companies often do. Upon receiving a claim for life insurance benefits, they’ll launch scorched-earth investigations in an effort to find any excuse to deny coverage.
By way of example, insurers have been known to scour social media accounts looking for a picture of the deceased engaging in some sort of behavior that might warrant a denial of death benefits. If they find a picture of a non-smoker having a rare cigarette at a cocktail party, they’ll claim that person lied on their application when they said they didn’t smoke. If they find a post about hang-gliding while on vacation, they’ll claim the insured failed to disclose a history of engaging in risky hobbies. Unfortunately, without proper guidance, many beneficiaries simply accept the resultant denial of coverage that follows these investigations.
That should never happen, however. Instead, that beneficiary should immediately contact an attorney who specializes in life insurance claims denials. They know every bad faith tactic in the book and aren’t afraid to call the insurance company’s bluff.
Perhaps more importantly, they aren’t afraid to take the insurance company to court for its breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The reason this is such an important strategy is that a successful bad faith claim could yield the beneficiary a judgment in an amount even greater than the defined policy payout.
Bad faith is taken very seriously under Alabama law. In fact, if the beneficiary can prove that an insurer intentionally engaged in bad faith tactics in denying policy coverage, the court may award that beneficiary punitive damages far above the contractual death benefit. Proving intentional bad faith is no easy feat, however. That’s why it is absolutely critical that you retain the right attorney prior to battling an insurance company.
Choose an attorney who specializes in life insurance claim denials
When choosing an attorney to help contest a life insurance claim denial, it is imperative that you choose one who specializes in this area of the law. Because we focus on these issues day in and day out, we know every bad faith tactic insurers will use to deny a claim. More importantly, we’ve successfully overcome those tactics on behalf of our Alabama clients.
If you are a beneficiary who has been denied death benefits, please contact us without further delay. We’ll take a thorough look at your case and will face your insurance company head on to make sure you are paid exactly what you are owed. Call us today.