Life Insurance Lawyer Minnesota

Whether you reside in: Bloomington; Duluth; Rochester; Saint Paul or Minneapolis; our life insurance attorneys who live and work here in Minnesota are here to help resolve your delayed or denied life insurance claim.

Minnesota Denied Life Insurance Claims Recently Settled

  • AIG claimed misrepresentation application $318,300.00
  • Minnesota divorce and life insurance $251,690.00
  • SGLI dispute when beneficiary changed $400,000.00
  • Ameritas was denied due to alcohol $214,500.00
  • Minnesota denied AD&D claim $519,300.00
  • MetLife self-inflicted injury resolved $128,421.00
  • Lincoln Heritage interpleader lawsuit 511,000.00
  • Minnesota denied life insurance claim $1,329,400.00
  • Prudential accidental death & dismemberment $406,000.00
  • Globe material misrepresentation age & weight $218,000.00
  • Minnesota life insurance and divorce $304,250.00
  • Allianz drug exclusion opiates $101,400.00
  • Liberty Life autoerotic asphyxiation death $105,800.00
  • Denied life insurance claim Minnesota $2,075,000.00

Can starting a fight nullify your life insurance?

Your life insurance company may argue that it does

Let’s face it, we live in a contentious society. It seems like everywhere you look, people are taking the opportunity to fight with one another. Whether it is over politics, sports, or something as inane as traffic, it appears that Americans are resorting to violence more frequently than ever.

Of course, there are numerous consequences to such violence. A person can obviously be hurt physically and/or emotionally. If the police get involved, one or both parties to a fight can get hauled off to jail. Marriages, friendships, and family relationships can be tarnished indefinitely. Indeed, it is hard to come up with anything good that comes from fighting.

There is another consequence of violence that hotheads may want to consider, however. Specifically, if a person with a life insurance policy dies as the result of an argument that he initiated, his beneficiaries may not get the policy benefit he intended for them.

That was the situation faced by the family of a St. Louis man named Henry who died as the result of an argument he started outside his place of business. This article explores the facts of his case and the way his life insurance company tried to deprive his family of his policy payout.

An escalating feud between neighbors

Henry owned a successful autobody shop in an industrial area of St. Louis. As with most autobody shops, Henry’s was surrounded with broken down cars, crates full of car parts, and miscellaneous tools. In a somewhat surprising move, two years before the incident in question, a real estate office set up shop in an abandoned building directly adjacent to Henry’s business.

From day one, Henry and the owner of the real estate brokerage (a man named Mike) did not get along. Even though Henry had done business in the neighborhood for years, Mike expected Henry to “tidy up” the yard surrounding the autobody shop because, according to Mike, it was off-putting to his real estate clients. Henry balked at the notion and basically ignored Mike’s demands.

One summer, Henry and his wife took a rare and long-overdue vacation. At some point during the ten days that they were out of town, Mike and some colleagues entered the grounds of the autobody shop and moved around many of the tools and crates on the premises. They did so with the intent of making the property less unsightly. Mike later testified that he believed Henry would be grateful once he saw how much nicer the property could look from the street.

When Henry returned, however, he was not pleased. To the contrary, he was incensed. Instead of calling the police to report the trespassing, however, Henry (a man who stood 6’ 5” tall and weighed 290 pounds) stormed over to Mike’s real estate office. Witnesses testified that as Henry approached, he was yelling expletives and making threats about “kicking Mike’s ass.”

Mike had a much slighter build than Henry and had stated frequently that he was afraid of the larger man. Not surprisingly then, Mike grabbed a nearby shop broom as Henry approached. People who witnessed the altercation said that when Henry got about three feet away from Mike, he raised his right arm and clenched his fist as if he were going to hit Mike. Mike closed his eyes and swung the handle of the broom in Henry’s direction with all his might. The handle struck Henry’s nose in an upward motion. Henry dropped to the ground, lifeless. Within hours of being taken to the hospital, Henry died.

A surprise life insurance claim denial

Several years before his death, Henry had taken out a $300,000 life insurance policy and named his wife, Marta, as the beneficiary. The couple had hoped the money would help Marta stay afloat if anything ever happened to Henry. Thus, within weeks of Henry’s death, Marta filed a claim for policy benefits.

After reviewing the police reports and witness statements concerning Henry’s death, however, the life insurance company flat-out denied Marta’s claim. In its denial letter, the insurer pointed to policy language requiring the company to pay out a death benefit only if Henry’s death came “through accidental means and resulting directly, independently, and exclusively of all other causes.” According to the insurance company, Henry had initiated the fight with Mike, the fight was likely to cause injuries, and it was foreseeable that those injuries might cause death. Thus, the company claimed, the death was not an accident and it was not obligated to pay.

Fortunately, Marta’s friend referred her to a lawyer specializing in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims. The lawyer reviewed the facts of the incident, along with the insurance company’s claim denial letter and immediately knew the denial was bogus. In fact, the attorney was aware of several prior court cases where deaths caused by fighting were deemed to be “accidental.” In each of those cases, the court eventually ordered the insurance company to pay the claim.

Henry’s case was no different. Though the lawyer had to sue the insurance company on Marta’s behalf, the court ultimately decided that Henry’s death was accidental. He ordered the insurance company to pay the full $300,000 death benefit, with interest.

Unfortunately, this case is not unusual. As attorneys who specialize exclusively in the wrongful denial of life insurance claims, we see similar situations day in and day out. Life insurance companies make the most money if they can avoid making death payouts. Thus, they often concoct bogus claim denial reasoning just to see if they can intimidate policy beneficiaries into giving up on their legitimate claims.

If you have recently received a life insurance claim denial that you believe is in error, call us. We’re happy to review the facts of your case (at no charge) and give you our honest opinion about your chances of contesting the claim denial. Don’t wait. Call us today.

Minnesota denied life insurance claims are nothing new. Existing for many years, life insurance policies have been used to safeguard families and friends alike in case emergencies or accidents come unexpectedly. Unfortunately, denials of life insurance claims, as well as delays, are commonplace.
Our life insurance lawyers who live and work in Minnesota can help, whether you are in: Minneapolis; Saint Paul; Rochester; Duluth; Bloomington; or anywhere in the state of Minnesota, we will get you the benefits to which you are entitled.
Minnesota Life Insurance Law
Policies through work are governed under ERISA. The primary regulating force here in Minnesota is Chapters 59a through 791 of the Minnesota Statutes, and oversight is provided by the Minnesota Commerce Department.
Most Common Reasons for a Denied Life Insurance Claim in Minnesota
  • 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.
How much can I recover from a life insurer who wrongfully denied my claim?
In many instances, damages are not capped by the policy limit
One unfortunate truth about the life insurance industry is that life insurance companies are financially motivated to deny legitimate claims. In fact, it is not unheard of for a life insurer to send a denial letter even in cases where the circumstances of death make policy coverage a no-brainer. Why would insurers do this? The answer is simple. If they can persuade even one beneficiary to accept a faulty denial, then they have just kept unearned money in their own coffers. This makes executives and shareholders very happy.
As lawyers who specialize in the contesting denials of life insurance claims, we see these illegitimate denials all the time. We know when insurance companies are playing games with beneficiaries in order to boost profits. We can also tell when life insurers are intentionally acting in bad faith – and we know what grave consequences they can suffer if our clients decide to file suit against them.
In this article, we discuss the different types of damages that life insurance companies can be forced to pay when they wrongfully deny a claim for death benefits. Keep in mind, however, that laws vary from state to state. The facts of each particular case also have a great impact on the damages that may be awarded in any given case. When the facts and the law are on our clients’ side, we often recover damages from the life insurance company that are many times greater than the original policy limit. Here’s a look at how recovery from an insurance company might be broken down in a typical case.
Policy limits
At its core, an insurance policy is nothing more than a contract. Broken down to its simplest form, that contract contains two important promises: (1) the policyholder agrees to be truthful in the application process and to faithfully pay her life insurance premiums; and (2) when the policyholder dies, the insurance company agrees to pay a death benefit to her designated beneficiary.
Thus, if a policyholder purchases $1,000,000 worth of coverage on her life, pays her premiums on time, and otherwise abides by policy terms, the insurer should pay her beneficiary $1,000,000 upon receiving proof of death. If the insurance company fails to pay, the first and most obvious form of damages that could be recovered in a lawsuit are that $1,000,000 policy cap. Oftentimes, however, the insurance company’s actions warrant much greater recovery.
Emotional distress
In many states, a beneficiary who has experienced a wrongful denial of a life insurance claim can recover “consequential damages.” In essence, consequential damages are any damages that the life insurance company could have reasonably foreseen when they made the decision to deny coverage.
Of course, one of the most foreseeable consequences of a wrongful death benefit denial is emotional distress. In most cases, the beneficiary is already overcome with grief. They may be suffering financial hardship due to the loss of a family breadwinner. When their life insurer thereafter denies their legitimate claim for death benefits, the overwhelming stress and strain can become unbearable.
The amount of emotional distress damages varies from cases to case. In determining the amount, most courts will consider things like bills from doctors or therapists, medications that had to be purchased, and lost work due to the stress of the situation.
Punitive damages
In some cases, we are able to prove that not only was a life insurer’s decision to deny coverage wrongful, but also that it was intentional. Intent is a big deal in the law. Courts don’t like when big companies act in a manner so as to intentionally harm their customers. In such cases, many courts will impose “punitive damages” against the insurance company.
Recovery dollars are usually greatest when punitive damages are awarded. This is because, as the name implies, punitive damages are intended to punish the life insurance company for its intentional bad acts. In order for a punishment to be effective, however, courts recognize that the punishment has to hurt. And how do you hurt an insurance company? You take money out their pockets – enough money that when the next opportunity comes to wrongfully and intentionally deny a valid death benefit claim, the insurer has to think long and hard about the potential consequences of such a denial.
It is not unusual for punitive damage awards to hit multiple millions of dollars. Of course, laws and policies are different from state to state. Some states cap the amount of punitive damages available to beneficiaries. Others put great reliance on the egregiousness of the wrongful denial. In any case, we always advocate for the greatest amount of punitive damages allowable by law.
Attorney fees
One of the most common reasons people fail to call an attorney when they need legal help is that they think they can’t afford one. There is good reason for this as many attorneys charge hundreds of dollars per hour. In fact, we hear this reasoning all the time when a new client finally reaches out for guidance and assistance.
What most people do not realize is that in many cases, the insurance company who has wrongfully denied the claim will be forced to pay the beneficiary’s attorney fees at the end of the case. Again, the law in this regard varies from state to state, but this is one reason why it is so critical to speak to an attorney as soon as you receive the denial letter. You might be surprised to learn that in many cases, our clients never end up spending a dime of their own money to go after an insurer that has issued a wrongful denial.
We can’t emphasize enough that the laws of each state may have slight variations impacting the amount of damages that can be recovered from a life insurance company. The good news is, it’s our job to know those laws and explain them to you. Call us today. We’re here to help.