There are many that may not realize this, but lawyers are actually imperfect people…
Joking aside, this comment is made to hopefully point out the fact that regardless of the experience, notoriety or rates that are involved with any attorney, contract language often has loopholes. While the goal is to try to draft language broad enough to cover a variety of situations, the contract language must also be narrow enough to help key in on the important issues involved in the contact. When it comes to life insurance policies, the contractual language is generally pretty standard and has been developed by a contracts team over many generations of experience. Additionally, clients usually have a take it or leave it form to sign as there is little room for negotiating specific terminology. Somehow, with all of this standard, ironclad language, loopholes are still found and parties often get in to disputes over the meaning of language within the contract. Due to this, we thought it important to discuss how disputes over contractual meanings of language can be handled appropriately.
In most contractual situations, the parties come to an agreement on certain terms and how things will work in the event of a disagreement. As much as the parties can try to prepare for all scenarios and draft around it, eventually there may come a circumstance that was not originally thought of. Additionally, the parties may have come to an agreement on contract terms, but their individual interpretation of the language may actually vary. In these instances, it is not uncommon for the parties to fight over the contract language and eventually end up in mediation or litigation to resolve a matter. While the procedure for dealing with a similar dispute in a life insurance policy may differ, there are still some similarities in the approach.
For starters, a contract language dispute will often not occur in a life insurance situation until the original policyholder has passed away and beneficiaries have been denied a claim. Due to this lengthy delay from the point of signing until the dispute itself, several obstacles may get in the way. The beneficiary may have a hard time getting ahold of the original policy documents. Beyond that, clarifying the meaning or thought process behind certain contract language may be difficult as decades may have passed by and various contract team members will have switched over as employees for the insurance provider. Many times the beneficiary will just take the insurance provider at its word and refuse to fight over the meaning of certain contract language, allowing the provider to keep money that rightfully belongs to the beneficiary.
Depending on the vagueness or weak interpretation of certain contract language in an insurance policy, it may be worth considering legal action on behalf of the beneficiary. Instead of simply accepting a denied claim based on weak contract language, reach out to our team of experienced legal staff in order to help you claim what is rightfully yours. Our attorneys can engage the insurance provider with an aggressive approach and take the matter beyond their claims team if the situation calls for it. Pushing the matter out to mediation or litigation are options if an insurance provider refuses to work with us to reach a settlement that makes sense for both sides.