As Bloomberg.com reports, life insurance companies are part of the wide spread “Delay, Deny, Defend” mindset that has been attributed to property and casualty insurance companies. A common life insurance company ploy is refusing to pay on accidental death policies and stating that the death was a suicide and, therefore, not covered under the policy. If this happens to you, don’t take “no” for an answer from the life insurance company.
Todd Pierce, a cancer survivor, was killed in a one car accident, at age 46; the state medical examiner and the police both deemed the death an accident. Todd lost control of his truck after passing a car, on a two-lane road; he died from smoke inhalation. MetLife paid Todd’s term life insurance policy, but refused to pay the $224,000 accidental death policy, stating that Todd had committed suicide; and, therefore, the accidental death policy benefits did not kick in.
MetLife is the largest life insurance company in the United States; they told Todd’s wife, Jane, that Todd had killed himself. In response, Jane supplied the autopsy report, medical records, and a letter from the medical examiner; all showed that Todd’s death was accidental. MetLife continued its “Delay, Deny, Defend” tactics and refused to pay.
A full year after Todd’s death, MetLife finally paid Jane the full $224,000; though as part of the settlement MetLife took no responsibility for the delay and paid no interest or penalties for the year delay.
If a life insurance or accidental death insurance company is refusing to pay your claim, consult with a qualified attorney. Please feel free to telephone our office at 858-792-5988 for a consultation.