Life Insurance Lawyer Louisiana
Louisiana Denied Life Insurance Claims Recently Settled
- Primerica interpleader dispute lawsuit $306,200.00
- Continental nonpayment of premium $111,640.00
- Shreveport accidental death and dismemberment $709,000.00
- FEGLI appeal successful quick resolution $153,000.00
- Bossier City delay due to medical issue $366,000.00
- American General denial AD&D accidental death $415,000.00
- Guardian self-inflicted injury exclusion $258,000.00
- Standard sickness exclusion settlement $114,900.00
- Louisiana denied life insurance claim $873,000.00
- SGLI competing beneficiaries action $400,000.00
- Baton Rouge dangerous activity exclusion $528,000.00
- ERISA appeal life insurance benefits won $107,000.00
- Monroe three exclusions overcome here $416,000.00
- Lafayette ambiguous language won $791,000.00
- Met life AD&D denied accidental death $512,790.00
- John Hancock divorce beneficiary resolved $239,000.00
- FEGLI appeal success in less than a week $159,000.00
- Liberty National exclusion for drug overdose $116,000.00
- New Orleans material misrepresentation application $923,000.00
- Union National autoerotic asphyxiation $152,000.00
- Lake Charles life beneficiary dispute $1,000,000.00
- Denied life insurance claim Louisiana $518,500.00
- AETNA beneficiary dispute interpleader $220,350.00
Disguised suicide isn’t fooling life insurance companies
It is no surprise that life insurance companies are extraordinarily cautious about suicide. If insurers indiscriminately paid out death benefits any time a policyholder took their own life, more people than we would like to admit would likely use suicide as a last-ditch financial planning method. For some, they might feel great relief if they knew they could get their family out of debt by taking their own life and allowing their loved ones to collect a large death benefit.
To hedge against this macabre reality, life insurance policies are very stringent when it comes to suicide. Some policies contain an outright policy exclusion if the policyholder commits suicide at any time during the life of the policy. Others contain a suicide exclusion that prevents the insurance company from having to pay a death benefit if the policyholder dies by suicide within the first two years of the issuance of that policy.
While these exclusions are understandable from a business standpoint, life insurance companies also abuse them heavily. As lawyers who specialize in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims, we have seen numerous insurers deny valid claims for death benefits by determining that the policyholder killed himself – even in cases where all police and coroner reports indicate the underlying death was accidental. Indeed, we successfully contest those bogus claim denials every day.
Unfortunately, however, the reverse is also true. Some people, desperate to get money in the hands of their beneficiaries and knowing of their policy’s suicide exclusion, will orchestrate a death that is intended not to look like suicide. This article explores one such case and serves as a cautionary tale for those who may be tempted to take a similar path.
[*Before we dive into the facts of relevant case, let us say this: if you are considering suicide in order to help your life insurance beneficiary’s financial position (or for any reason at all), please get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That number is 1-800-273-8255.]
Individuals who are aware of the suicide exclusion in their life insurance policies sometimes go to great lengths to disguise their deaths as something other than suicide. Such was the case of one Vermont woman named Tina.
Tina had been well-off for her entire life but as she approached her 50s, she found herself in financial trouble for the first time. She had debts totaling over $3,000,000, two children to care for, a mortgage to pay, and a husband who had run off to another country in an attempt to avoid alimony.
Tina figured she had two strengths that might save her family – a $5 million life insurance policy and her ability to manipulate people into doing her bidding. Focusing on that second skill, she befriended a man who was instantly enamored with her. He was fiercely loyal, not terribly bright, and he would listen to her tales of woe for weeks on end. Indeed, within a matter of months, she had this man believing that the only way for her to save her children was to die.
Tina asked the man to purchase a shotgun and to rig the shotgun with ropes and wires such that she could point it at herself and pull the trigger. Ever dutiful, the man complied. He even agreed to come to her house after her death, collect the shotgun, and throw it into a lake before anyone discovered her body.
When the day came for Tina to carry out her plan, the shotgun rig didn’t work. When her friend later came to her house to collect the gun, he found Tina alive and exasperated with her failure. She begged the man to simply use the gun to shoot her and then dispose of the gun as they had planned. After some cajoling, he agreed. He fired two shots into Tina’s chest, which resulted in her death. Initial police and coroner reports indicated that Tina’s cause of death was a homicidal gunshot wound.
The insurance company didn’t buy it
Tina’s family later filed a claim for the $5,000,000 death benefit. Before paying out, however, the insurance company decided to conduct its own investigation. In short order, the company discovered all of Tina’s life circumstances and the fact that she had talked about wanting to die for several months preceding her death. Eventually, in conjunction with police detectives, they were also able to elicit a confession from the man who shot Tina.
Once news broke regarding the true manner of Tina’s death, her beneficiaries were certain they would receive the death payout under her life insurance policy. After all, the policy did not include a homicide exclusion. Thus, they were in for a big shock when the claim denial letter came in the mail. Based on all of the facts and circumstances that came to light during the investigation, the insurer was ruling Tina’s death a suicide.
The case ended up in a lawsuit between Tina’s beneficiaries and the insurer. Ultimately, the court agreed with the insurance company that Tina’s death was, in fact, a suicide. As such, the policy exclusion relieved the insurer from paying on the claim.
As noted above, our firm specializes in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims. We successfully overcome denials based on the insurer’s bogus determinations of suicide all the time. In the above case, however, the suicide conclusion seems to have been correct. The moral of this case is that suicide is never a good way out of a bad situation. If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or someone else who can assist you.
If, on the other hand, you need assistance with a life insurance company’s wrongful denial of a claim based on a faulty determination of suicide, call us. We’ll review the circumstances of your case and, whenever possible, help you get the policy benefit that was intended for you.