Life Insurance Lawyer Arizona

Our Arizona life insurance lawyers are here to help. Call us at 800-330-2274 for a free consultation.

Why are life insurance claims delayed?

There could be various reasons why a life insurance company may delay a claim. Some of the most common reasons are:

  1. Incomplete documentation: The insurance company may delay processing the claim if the required documents, such as a death certificate or policy documents, are incomplete or missing.

  2. Investigations: If the insurance company suspects that the claim may be fraudulent or requires further investigation, they may delay processing the claim until the investigation is completed.

  3. Disputed beneficiaries: If there is a dispute between multiple beneficiaries or if the beneficiary designation is unclear, the insurance company may delay processing the claim until the issue is resolved.

  4. High value claims: If the claim is for a large sum of money, the insurance company may take longer to process the claim to ensure that all requirements are met and the claim is valid.

  5. Administrative backlog: Sometimes, insurance companies may experience a backlog of claims due to high volume, staff shortages, or technical issues.

While some delays in processing claims may be unavoidable, insurance companies are required to act in good faith and process claims promptly. If you feel that your claim is being unreasonably delayed, it is important to contact the insurance company and ask for an explanation. You may also consider seeking legal advice if you believe the insurance company is acting in bad faith.

Life Insurance Beneficiary Rules and Disputes Arizona

2023-2024 Life Insurance Claims in Arizona Recently Settled

  • Farmers Life Exclusion for coronavirus $15,000.00
  • Genworth Life dispute beneficiaries $70,000.00
  • American Family sickness exclusion $89,000.00
  • Transamerica Life self-inflicted injury $501,300.00
  • Guarantee Security COVID-19 denied $125,000.00
  • Lincoln Financial interpleader $105,500.00
  • Denied SGLI due to beneficiary change $404700.00
  • General American autoerotic asphyxiation $103,000.00
  • Sec Mutual Life felony exclusion $305,000.00
  • Guardian Life alcohol denial $90,000.00
  • Universe Life fentanyl death we won $11,000.00
  • Effortless suicide exclusion $45,000.00
  • USAA delay of life benefits resolved$112,000.00
  • Bankers Life issue of health history $33,000.00
  • Denied FEGLI heart attack issue $139,000.00
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment $600,000.00
  • Gerber fall death and heart attack $109,000.00
  • Christian Fidelity sickness exclusion $105,200.00
  • Stonebridge Life COVID exclusion denial $277,000.00
  • Western United long delay of benefits $33,000.00
  • Arizona Life felony exclusion gun crime $492,000.00
  • Fidelity Life dispute between beneficiaries $302,500.00
  • Tempe dangerous activity denial benefits $548,000.00
  • Bankers Life material misrepresentation $209,300.00
  • Denied FEGLI claim won in a couple weeks $250,000.00
  • New York Life alcohol exclusion won $120,000.00
  • Mesa misrepresentation as to age mistake $735,000.00
  • Glendale sickness exclusion cancer found $815,000.00
  • Denied life insurance claim Arizona $500,000.00
  • Arizona ERISA life insurance claim $248,000.00
  • Denied SGLI claim dispute resolved $402,100.00
  • Peoria court orders divorce settlement $951,000.00
  • Bad faith denial of life benefits AZ $684,000.00
  • FEGLI denied life insurance claim $106,900.00
  • Jackson National Life interpleader lawsuit $108,200.00
  • Denied AD&D claim from heart attack $553,000.00
  • Minnesota Life delay of life benefits $104,100.00
  • Phoenix lawyer for life insurance claim $472,000.00
  • Northwestern Mutual Life accidental death $311,000.00
  • ERISA denied life insurance claim appeal $128,000.00
  • Genworth Life last minute beneficiary change $250,000.00
  • Scottsdale insufficient documents to support $390.000.00
  • Globe nonpayment of premiums resolved $106,200.00
  • AIG accidental death & dismemberment $414,000.00
  • Tucson no coverage at the time of death $379,000.00
  • Gilbert had a foreign death claim we won $1,000,000.00
  • CMFG misrepresentation alleged on application $102,700.00
  • Arizona denied life insurance claim $600,000.00
  • Progressive Life prescription drug denial $315,000.00
  • TSGLI appeal successfully resolved quickly
  • Chandler attorney for insurance denials $729,000.00
  • Arizona ERISA life insurance claim $285,100.00
  • SGLI we resolved beneficiary issue $400,000.00
  • Globe Life suicide exclusion $106,300.00
  • Arizona divorce and life insurance $742,000.00
  • Hartford Life felony exclusion $250,000.00
  • Transamerica Premier Life alcohol exclusion $418,000.00
  • Arizona denial of life insurance benefits $831,000
  • Lincoln Life autoerotic asphyxiation death $308,350.00
  • VGLI claim wife and girlfriend dispute $400,00.00
  • Nationwide Life spouse and ex-spouse dispute $253,400.00

Interpleader Lawyer Arizona

In a disputed life insurance claim interpleader action, several steps typically occur:

  1. Denial of Claim: The insurance company denies the claim due to uncertainties or disputes regarding the policy's beneficiaries or other terms.

  2. Interpleader Filing: The insurer initiates an interpleader action by filing a petition with the court, seeking to deposit the disputed funds with the court and be relieved of liability. This action aims to resolve conflicting claims among potential beneficiaries.

  3. Court Intervention: The court reviews the case and determines whether an interpleader action is appropriate. If so, the court issues an order directing the insurer to deposit the disputed funds with the court and names the conflicting parties as defendants in the interpleader lawsuit.

  4. Defendant Response: The named defendants, including the disputed beneficiary and any other potential claimants, are served with notice of the interpleader action. They have the opportunity to respond to the lawsuit, typically by filing an answer with the court.

  5. Discovery: Both parties engage in the discovery process, during which they exchange relevant documents and information, such as the life insurance policy, beneficiary designations, and any evidence supporting their claims to the proceeds.

  6. Mediation or Settlement Talks: In some cases, the parties may attempt to reach a settlement through mediation or negotiation, potentially avoiding a lengthy court battle.

  7. Court Resolution: If the dispute remains unresolved, the court will hold hearings and evaluate the evidence presented by both sides. The court will then make a decision on the rightful beneficiary or beneficiaries of the life insurance proceeds.

For example, imagine a scenario where an individual, Alex, names their spouse as the primary beneficiary of their life insurance policy but fails to update the policy after divorcing and remarrying. Upon Alex's death, their ex-spouse and current spouse both claim entitlement to the insurance proceeds. In response, the insurance company files an interpleader action, depositing the disputed funds with the court and naming both the ex-spouse and current spouse as defendants. The court then reviews the case, considers the relevant evidence, and ultimately determines whether the ex-spouse, current spouse, or potentially another party is entitled to the life insurance proceeds.

Arizona Life Insurance Laws

Many people only maintain life insurance because it is a benefit of their employment. In those instances, coverage is often so automated that the insured rarely thinks about their policy at all. In fact, they may only remember that they have a life insurance policy when the insurer contacts them to ask for information or offer details about coverage.

Such was the case for a Kentucky gentleman named Mark. Mark received a $100,000 life insurance policy through his employer. At the relatively young age of 48, life insurance was not a big concern to Mark. He planned on living a full life and never anticipated that anyone would be fighting over his life insurance proceeds for decades to come.

Life had different plans for Mark, however. His case is a cautionary tale for all of us that – regardless of age – we all need to plan for what happens to our estate when we pass. As lawyers who specialize in contesting the denial of life insurance claims, we see situations like Mark’s all the time. Consequently, this article focuses on his case and how, if he had just done some additional planning, he could have saved his loved ones a lot of stress and consternation.

Setting up his policy

As noted, Mark was a 48 year-old man living in Kentucky. Mark had a great job as a civil engineer, had a full roster of friends, and a family who adored him. In 2014, right around the time he accepted a new position with a regional engineering firm, Mark was dating a woman named Olivia. Everyone who knew the couple knew that he was smitten.

Consequently, when it came time for Mark to fill out his new employee paperwork, he had Olivia on his mind. One of the things Mark had to do was to complete enrollment in the firm’s group life insurance plan. As part of that process, he was asked to name a beneficiary of his life insurance proceeds. At the time, naming Olivia as his beneficiary was a no-brainer for Mark. He loved her and even planned to marry her in the near future.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as Mark had hoped. Over the course of the next year, the couple started fighting regularly and, by the time they broke up in November 2015, they basically couldn’t stand one another.

In July 2015 – just months prior to his breakup with Olivia – Mark received an email from his life insurance company. It was the one-year anniversary of his employment with the engineering firm and, as such, they needed him to update his policy information. To facilitate the process, they provided Mark with a link to the company’s website where he could input any new information easily.

One of the things Mark was asked to do was update his life insurance beneficiary, to the extent he wished to make a change at all. In the midst of his relationship struggles with Olivia, he simply left that question blank. It never occurred to Mark that that simple decision would have such a massive impact on the people in his life.

Who is the intended beneficiary?

Unfortunately, Mark was completely unaware that he had very little time left on the planet. In December 2015, Mark died in his sleep of an apparent brain aneurysm. Mark’s employer notified the life insurance company of his death, hoping to facilitate a fast payout of the death benefit for Mark’s chosen beneficiary.

When insurance company representatives reviewed the file, however, they were at a quandary for what to do. Mark had clearly named Olivia as the beneficiary in his 2014 paperwork. In 2015, however, he left the question about his beneficiary blank. According to the policy terms, any time an insured failed to name a beneficiary, the death benefits would simply be paid to his next of kin. In Mark’s case, that was his sister, Linda.

Sure enough, both Olivia and Linda ended up submitting claims for Mark’s $100,000 death benefit. Unsure of who to pay, and not wanting to incur double liability, the insurance company initiated what is known as an “interpleader” lawsuit. In an interpleader action, the insurance company essentially recognizes that it has to decide between two claimed beneficiaries, and asks for the court’s guidance in determining who should receive the policy payout.

Within that action, Olivia and Linda fought each other hard. Importantly, however, Linda hired an attorney who specializes in contesting life insurance claim denials. While Mark’s insurance company hadn’t denied her claim yet, she realized that without specialized representation, she was at risk of a full denial.

Linda’s attorney presented ample evidence to support her claim for benefits. In particular, he noted Mark’s intentional refusal to name a beneficiary in 2015 – and contrasted that with his desire and willingness to name Olivia as the beneficiary a year earlier. The attorney also pointed to the clear policy language directing the life insurer to pay the policyholder’s next of kin in the event he died without a named beneficiary.

For her part, Olivia presented evidence regarding the deep and intense relationship that she had shared with Mark. She argued that in light of their recent breakup, Mark still would have wanted her to receive the policy proceeds.

Ultimately, the court sided with Linda, as her attorney made arguments centered on law and the policy language, as opposed to arguments based solely in emotional appeal. The court ordered the life insurance company to pay the full $100,000 benefit to Linda, with interest.

These sorts of disputes are more common than you might think. If you believe you are the rightful beneficiary to life insurance proceeds but find that someone else is also claiming that right, call us. The sole focus of our practice is life insurance claim denials. We’ll evaluate your case honestly and if we believe you are the intended beneficiary, we’ll fight for your right to receive the benefits your loved one intended for you.

Call us today. We’re here to help.

A drunk driving arrest without a conviction

The case involved a man named Bill. When Bill was in his mid-fifties, he was hired to an executive-level position with an engineering firm. As part of his benefits package, Bill was eligible for a lucrative life insurance policy. In order to fully qualify for the policy, however, Bill had to fill out a 10-page policy application that asked about his health history and lifestyle.

Among the questions in the application was one that read: “During the past 15 years, have you ever been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances?” Bill truthfully answered “no” in response to that question.

Just six months earlier, however, Bill had been pulled over by the police under the suspicion that he was driving while intoxicated. He failed a field sobriety test and was taken to jail by the arresting officer. When he got to jail, Bill was given a blood test to determine the amount of alcohol in his blood. The results showed that his blood alcohol level (BAC) was .09 —.01 percent over the legal limit of .08.

Bill hired a criminal defense attorney to defend him in court. The attorney recognized immediately that the arresting officer and jail staff had made a critical mistake. State law mandated that a person arrested for DUI be given the opportunity to have their BAC tested in one of three ways — via blood, breath, or urine. If that choice was not provided, state law mandated that the DUI case had to be thrown out. In other words, a conviction was not possible.

Bill’s case was, in fact, dismissed because the arresting officer took his blood sample without offering breath or urine tests as alternatives. Nonetheless, Bill was filled with remorse. Consequently, he made a lengthy post on Facebook about the ordeal, during which he explained the circumstance of his arrest and vowed never to drink again.

A surprise death and claim denial

Sadly, just a few months after starting his job (and being issued a life insurance policy), Bill passed away from a brain aneurysm. His wife, Crystal, made a claim for the $1,000,000 policy benefit under his new life insurance policy.

A few weeks later, Crystal received a claim denial letter in the mail. The claims adjuster stated that since Bill’s death had occurred within the first two years of the policy, it had the right to investigate whether Bill had been truthful in his policy application. During that investigation, the letter explained, the adjuster discovered Bill’s Facebook post about the DUI arrest. In light of that situation, and the fact that Bill had responded negatively “to a question about his history with DUI’s,” the letter stated Bill had made a material misrepresentation in his application and the insurer was within its rights in denying the claim.

This didn’t feel right to Crystal. She immediately contacted a lawyer specializing in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims. The lawyer asked to see all policy-related documents, including the policy application, the policy itself, and the denial letter. After reviewing those materials, the attorney identified the problem with the claim denial. Bill hadn’t lied about his “history with DUI’s.” The application specifically asked if he had ever been “convicted” of a DUI. He truthfully answered “no.”

The lawyer filed an immediate appeal with the life insurer’s internal appeals board. In the appeal papers, he cautioned the insurance company that if he was forced to take this case to court, he would seek punitive damages for bad faith denial of claim. By the time the internal hearing came around, lawyers for the insurer saw the claims adjuster’s mistake. Bill actually had not been untruthful in his application. The insurance company had no choice but to overturn its denial and award Crystal the full policy benefit, with interest.

Often, life insurance claim denials are issued by people who are not careful about construing the underlying policy and application language. If you have received a claim denial that you believe to be in error, please call us for a free consultation today. There’s always a possibility that as with Crystal’s case, we can help get your life insurance claim denial overturned. Call today. We’re here to help.

Many people do not realize that life insurance policies are valid, written contracts between the life insurance company and the policyholder. Legally speaking, life insurance policies – like any other contract – need to have clear terms. If they do not, there can be problems down the line.

Of course, 99% of life insurance policy language is drafted by the life insurance company itself. The insured has very little say or influence when it comes to the terms of that contract. There is one term, however, that is controlled entirely by the policyholder. That, of course, is the policy beneficiary designation. It is solely up to the policyholder to name the person or persons who will receive the death payout after the policyholder passes away.

As with any other contract term, it is imperative that the beneficiary designation be clear and unambiguous. If it is not, it can cause significant problems for those who are left behind when the policyholder dies. This article explores one such case and illustrates how contract law rules the interpretation of life insurance policies. In reality, that sometimes means that an insured's wishes cannot be carried out in the manner they intended at the time of death.

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