Insurance policies are not dense and difficult to understand by accident. It may sound like sheer paranoia to suggest that insurance companies do this on purpose in order to confuse and dissuade people from making claims. However, consider this: over half of all US states have put "Plain English" laws into action in order to force insurance companies to phrase contracts and policies in such a way that the layman can comprehend their contents. A life insurance lawyer should be retained for any matter regarding a life insurance policy.
Some of these contracts may simply be drawn up by legal experts who are so used to using complex terminology that they instinctively write in that manner. That said, it doesn't take too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that insurance companies may benefit from the fact that customers in some states can't make a claim without keeping a dictionary handy.
When you take a life insurance company that is focused strictly on the bottom line, you wind up with companies that are effectively looking for legal ways to break promises. Does this profile fit every company out there? Maybe not, but it would be naive to say that it doesn't fit any of them.
To put it in a clearer way, it's not so much that there are good and bad insurance companies. A single company may recognize a valid claim one day and do their best to deny it the next. Rather, there is simply a tendency within the industry to deny and delay claims as much as possible. Some insurers may be more guilty of it than others, but the opportunity and temptation are there when it's your company that deals the cards and sets the terms of the insurance contract.
There are a number of strategies that insurance companies use to deny and delay. One company was found to hand out gift certificates and other rewards and incentives to employees with low pay-out rates. Others were found to fire and replace those who couldn't or wouldn't deny more claims. Many companies will offer lowball claims up front in order to keep customers from seeking the full amount to which they are entitled.
One could argue that these efforts are merely there to combat a litigious culture, one where con artists make a living out of fake slip and fall injuries. While the reality is that valid, reasonable lawsuits and insurance claims tend to outweigh fraudulent ones, the fact remains that many in the insurance industry may look at high profile cases of frivolous lawsuits and grow paranoid, themselves, enacting policies that ultimately hurt the customer. On the other hand, some CEOs may simply be looking for ways to make their shareholders happy.
While this may not be fair to those insurance companies that do try their best to treat their customers with some respect and dignity, it may be wise for customers to make the assumption that their insurer isn't interested in paying a penny more than they are legally required to, and maybe not even that if they can get away with shortchanging you. When you're making a claim, it's always a good idea to talk with a life insurance lawyer the moment you feel that your insurance company might not be dealing squarely with you.