When you lose a spouse or parent who was careful enough to get a life insurance policy and faithful with paying premiums till death, you would expect that you would automatically get the monetary proceeds from the policy. It can then come as a rude shock if the life insurance policy provider begins to delay or unfairly deny your claim.
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, the monetary proceeds from their life insurance policy can go a long way in making things better for you. Therefore, having your claim to those proceeds disputed or denied is the last thing you want to deal with.
Many people depend on the payout from life insurance policies for financial support after losing a family member. If you have had your claim to your loved one’s life insurance policy delayed or unfairly denied, you need to hire an expert and experienced life insurance dispute attorney.
Our life insurance dispute attorneys at Dyson & Levy litigate life insurance disputes and have a cumulative experience of almost 30 years. We have fought on behalf of many Florida residents against big insurance companies and have returned highly satisfactory results for our clients. Reach out to us today on 561-498-9979 and let us protect your rights and financial interests.
What can cause a life insurance dispute?
Most life insurance policy providers honor claims filed by beneficiaries. However, there are those few who will do everything they can to avoid paying the monetary proceeds to beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. Some of the reasons they may give you include:
Life insurance policy providers have a period – the first two years after the policy becomes effective – known as the contestability period. Insurance companies use this period to investigate the background information and medical records of the policyholder. If a life insurance policyholder dies during this time, the insurance company has the right to contest the policy and may choose to do so.
Life insurance policy did not cover the type of death
Insurance companies have a list of scenarios in which they will not honor the life insurance policy. This list is usually full of exclusions written in legalese and vague terms that may be unfair, or even illegal. The exclusions include the following:
- Death resulting from alcohol intoxication
- Challenging the type of accident in which the insured died
- Death resulting from suicide or war-related events
However, they use these exclusions routinely and often succeed in denying claims. We are familiar with these gimmicks and can help you overcome whatever the insurance companies throw at you.
Default in payment of premiums
Life insurance policies are usually active as long as the premiums are paid. If there is a default in paying premiums, the policy may be terminated. Insurance companies typically cite this as a reason for denying claims even when such claims should not be denied.
However, there is often more to the incidence of default than meets the eye. Sometimes, these payments may actually have been made but failed to reach the insurer due to no fault of the policyholder. Other times, the default may have been recorded in error by an employee of the insurance company. Other times, the premium bill was sent to the wrong address.
Failure to designate a beneficiary on file
Sometimes, an insurance policyholder may not clearly designate a beneficiary on file. He or she may name “children”, “wife” or “relatives” as beneficiaries. Insurance companies can cite the ambiguity of the named beneficiaries as a reason for delaying the payout. However, this may not be a sufficient reason to deny paying the proceeds to those beneficiaries that can be discovered.
A material misrepresentation or failure to disclose
If a policyholder did not disclose his or her medical history or neglected to fill a piece of vital information about his or her health or lifestyle, insurance companies tend to capitulate on this and cite it as a reason for denying or delaying the claim.
Death shortly after taking out the life insurance policy
Insurance companies are usually very suspicious if a life insurance policyholder dies shortly after taking out a life insurance policy. They usually scrutinize the claim more than usual, believing there to be some sort of foul play somewhere.
Asides from the gimmicks insurance companies employ to deny a beneficiary’s claim, other scenarios can give rise to life insurance claim disputes. They include:
A major event in the life of the insured
Major events in the life of a life insurance policyholder tend to affect who gets to benefit from the proceeds of the life insurance. Events such as divorce, marriage, the birth of a child, or adoption have the potential to cause disputes in life insurance benefits – unless the policyholder updated the policy.
Policyholder changed the beneficiary close to the time of death
If a policyholder was seriously ill and made changes to his or her insurance policy shortly before passing, family members who were not favored by the change could contest it, stating that the policyholder was not of a sound mind when making the changes. They could also claim that the beneficiary took advantage of the policyholder’s illness to influence the change in his or her favor.
What do I do if my claim is denied?
Get in touch with a life insurance disputes attorney. Do not attempt to take on the insurance company by yourself. Our life insurance dispute attorneys at Dyson & Levy can help you.
You will need to get in touch with the insurance provider to find out why your claim was denied. Normally, they should spell out the reason(s) for denial in their initial denial letter. However, the reasons may be vague or not specific enough. It is within your rights to ask them for clearer explanations.
The insurance provider should also provide you with information on how to appeal the denial or have it reviewed. Under Florida laws, Fla. Stat. § 717.107(1), any life insurance policy which has matured and has not been claimed in five years is presumed unclaimed and liable for forfeit.
We can help you
At Dyson & Levy, we understand the pain of dealing with a denied claim after losing a loved one. We understand how much strain it puts on you, which is why we ensure to give you personalized attention when you come to us.
No insurance dispute is too big or too small for us to handle. We have been doing this for almost thirty years and we have gained extensive experience over this time. We have faced off with some of the biggest insurance companies around on behalf of our clients with satisfactory results. We can do the same for you.
If you are in Palm Beach County, including Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and Lake Worth, call to speak with one of our attorneys today. In deserving circumstances, we may be able to take on your case on a contingency basis, meaning that we will not take any fee from you unless we return a win on your behalf.
Reach out to us today on 561-498-9979 or through our contact page to schedule a free initial consultation.