Life Insurance Lawyer Idaho
Whether you reside in: Pocatello; Caldwell; Idaho Falls; Nampa; Meridian; or Boise; our life insurance attorneys who live and work here in Idaho are here to help resolve your delayed or denied life insurance claim.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Our Idaho life insurance attorneys are now handling numerous COVID-19 Coronavirus denied life insurance claims.
Almost to the brink of death
Does death during autoerotic asphyxiation trigger the suicide exclusion of a life insurance policy?
The death of a loved one is a particularly difficult thing to experience. Unfortunately, the pain can be exacerbated if that person dies in a way that causes embarrassment or discomfort for the family. That is often the case when a person accidentally dies while performing autoerotic asphyxiation.
To add insult to injury, the loved ones who are left behind will are likely to also face increased legal and financial hurdles. In particular, if the deceased had a life insurance policy in place, any claims made under that policy will likely be denied outright by the insurance company. This is because most life insurers still view autoerotic asphyxiation as a form of suicide and most policies exclude coverage if a policyholder commits suicide during the policy term.
Life insurance companies also know that the beneficiaries under these policies may be too embarrassed or too upset to contest a claim involving autoerotic asphyxiation. As attorneys who specialize in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims, however, we’re here to tell you that these life insurance claim denials get overturned all the time. Moreover, you never need to be ashamed or embarrassed when dealing with our team of professionals. We will represent you with the respect and dignity you deserve.
What is autoerotic asphyxiation?
Autoerotic asphyxiation is the act of depriving one’s brain of sufficient oxygen while simultaneously masturbating. This is often achieved via a noose around one’s neck. This process of nearly starving the brain of oxygen is said to greatly increase the pleasurable sensation of orgasm.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of people who perform autoerotic asphyxiation do not die as a result of the process. Indeed, most noose systems that are created for this act are what are referred to as “soft nooses.” That means that as soon as the participant loses consciousness and his body relaxes, the noose around his neck loosens. That, in turn, allows his body to resume normal blood flow to the brain and shortly thereafter, he regains consciousness.
Unfortunately, from time to time, something goes wrong and a person dies as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation. If that person happens to die with a life insurance policy in place, the insurer almost always denies any and all claims against the policy. As noted above, insurers typically justify their denials by claiming the insured died while engaged in an act of suicide.
Why autoerotic asphyxiation is not suicide
Perhaps surprisingly, several cases involving autoerotic asphyxiation and life insurance have made their way into American courthouses. Almost without fail, the main issue in the case is whether autoerotic asphyxiation constitutes suicide, such that the life insurance company can deny claims based on a suicide exclusion. In the majority of cases, judges and juries have answered that question with a resounding “no.” Their reasoning is sound.
First, let’s take a look at the language of a typical suicide exclusion. In most life insurance policies, they read something like this:
The insurer shall have no responsibility to remit a death benefit payment to the policy beneficiary if the insured died as the result of an intentional act that is reasonably certain to cause death.
In determining whether autoerotic asphyxiation constitutes an act that would trigger a provision such as this, most courts have focused on the word “intentional.” They have found that the intent discussed in these provisions refers to the intentional act of ending one’s own life.
Relatedly, they have found that the actual intent behind autoerotic asphyxiation is sexual pleasure. The intent is not to commit suicide. Consequently, courts routinely overturn claim denials based on the suicide exclusion when autoerotic asphyxiation resulted in death.
Is autoerotic asphyxiation intentional self-harm?
Some life insurance policies also have a coverage exclusion if the policyholder dies while performing an act intended to cause self-harm. The argument from insurers here is nearly identical to the one they use when they invoke the suicide exclusion. In essence, the insurer is saying that the act of autoerotic asphyxiation, in and of itself, is intended to cause self-harm.
As they’ve done with invocation of the suicide exclusion, courts have largely rejected the notion that autoerotic asphyxiation equates to intentional self-harm. Again, the focus is on the word “intent.” And again, courts tend to find that the deceased didn’t intend to cause himself harm when he engaged in the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation. What he intended was pleasure. Accordingly, the self-harm exclusions are frequently rejected by courts as a basis for denying life insurance claims.
What autoerotic asphyxiation cases treat us about life insurance
Perhaps one of the greatest takeaways from cases involving life insurance denials and autoerotic asphyxiation is this: insurance companies will deny valid claims for death benefits even when they know they are standing on shaky legal grounds. Over and over and over, courts have ruled that autoerotic asphyxiation is not intentional suicide and is not intentional self-harm. Yet life insurers keep denying such claims on a routine basis.
Why? Like we said at the outset of the article, they do it because they think they can get away with it. They do it because they’re hoping beneficiaries will be too ashamed or embarrassed to appeal a claim denial. They do it hoping, in fact, that those beneficiaries will be too embarrassed to call a lawyer specializing in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims.
If you’re facing this or a similar situation, please don’t let the life insurance companies intimidate you in this manner. Our staff of dedicated professionals is happy to talk to you. You won’t receive any judgment from us. To the contrary, we will thoroughly evaluate your situation and let you know if we believe we can successfully contest the claim denial. If so, we hope you find solace in the fact that we’ll take over all communications with the life insurer about this issue.
Give us a call today. We’re here to help.
- 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.