Losing a loved one is a painful loss that can leave family members, partners, children, and other loved ones in a place of grief. If that loved one was the primary earner of a household, or the owner of a business, this can also lead to uncertainty as to how surviving loved ones will remain financially secure in the wake of their loss.
If the deceased individual was insured under a life insurance policy, surviving loved ones may have access to life insurance benefits capable of helping them navigate this uncertain and distressing time.
Getting these benefits, however, can sometimes be difficult—especially if there are competing claims, or if the insurance company has mistakenly denied or underpaid your claim.
At Florin|Roebig, our insurance recovery lawyers are here to ensure claimants are able to receive the benefits they’re entitled to under their policies and to settle cases quickly without causing undue stress. If your life insurance company has wrongfully denied or underpaid your claim, our lawyers can help you dispute this or take legal action against the insurer.
Understanding Life Insurance
Life insurance is a type of insurance policy that serves as a contract between you and an insurance company. In exchange for paying premiums over time, individuals who are named beneficiaries under the policy are permitted to seek benefits from the insurer following the death of the policyholder.
Beneficiaries of life insurance policies may include family members, divorced spouses, children, business partners, friends, step-children, and any other individuals who are included by the insured party.
For newly single parents and families, these benefits can be life-saving, easing the burden of having to face numerous bills and financial obligations that were previously managed by the deceased.
Types of coverage that may be included in life insurance policies:
- lost income
- student loan or credit card debt
- mortgage payments
- estate and inheritance tax
- child care
- financial support for special needs children
- funeral and final expenses
- business debts
- buy-and-sell agreements for business partners
The types of coverage offered and other terms and conditions of life insurance policies can vary based on the insurance company you’re insured with and the type of life insurance policy you purchase.
Life insurance can be purchased by individuals young and old and can be a beneficial investment regardless of whether you have a family or own a profitable business.
The primary types of life insurance include:
- Term Life Insurance: Term life insurance insures individuals for a designated time-frame, with common terms being 10, 20, or 30 years. This term is decided when you purchase the policy and is the most affordable option for individuals and families seeking life insurance. If the insured individual dies within the term, the beneficiaries can receive death benefits, assuming their premiums have been paid and any other applicable conditions are met.
- Whole Life Insurance: Whole life insurance has higher premiums than term insurance but offers benefits for beneficiaries regardless of when the insured individual passes. This is the most well-known form of permanent life insurance. Unlike term life insurance, whole life insurance builds cash value over time.
- Universal Life Insurance: Universal life insurance is another form of permanent life insurance that typically has premiums comparable to term insurance. Universal life policies often include a cash value component and may allow for adjustable premiums and death benefits over time.
Terms and conditions of life insurance policies are not all the same, and not all types are listed here. If you’re unsure what type of life insurance policy your loved one was insured under, consider seeking a copy of their policy or contacting the insurance company directly for more information.
Common Issues Faced By Life Insurance Beneficiaries
Family members, business associates, and other loved ones may experience a number of issues when attempting to receive their entitled death benefits.
Although insurance companies are obligated to adhere to the terms and conditions listed within their policies, some insurance companies may try to find ways to deny or underpay your claim.
Reasons for a denied claim can vary, from an allegation that you’re not a beneficiary under the policy of the deceased to issues such as missing payments or policy exclusions.
Life Insurance Exclusions
Life insurance policies may include exclusion clauses that disallow the payment of death benefits to beneficiaries under specific circumstances.
Exclusions may concern the cause of death, whether the individual was insured during the term designated in their policy, and may be subject to other local or state laws.
Common life insurance exclusions that can result in a denied claim include:
- alcohol and drug use
- act of war
- misstated age
- dangerous activities
- illegal activity
- material misrepresentation
- contestability period
Denying death benefits on the basis of one or more of these exclusions can be devastating for beneficiaries in need. Depending on the validity of this denial, however, beneficiaries may not have the grounds to contest this decision.
Unfortunately, these exclusions can often be ambiguous in practice, leaving room for interpretation on behalf of the insurance adjuster. This can make the process of seeking benefits even more complicated for grieving loved ones to navigate, and can be a challenging part of the dispute process.
If you suspect your insurance company has misinterpreted your claim by falsely alleging your case meets one or more exclusions, you may have the option of disputing their decision to seek your entitled benefits. Life insurance exclusions vary by policy and may allow for exceptions.
Bad Faith Life Insurance Tactics Imposed By Some Insurers
It’s reasonable to expect an insurance adjuster to perform their duty with integrity and make decisions that are sound and fair to policyholders.
However, there are some insurance companies that may try to wrongfully deny or underpay life insurance claims in order to avoid reducing their own cash reserves. In the field of law, this is known as operating in bad faith.
Bad faith insurance tactics may be eligible for taking legal action if the insurance company has: failed to re-evaluate the claim, refuses to reach a fair settlement, or continues pushing a false narrative about why they’ve decided to deny or reduce your claim.
Examples of bad faith insurance tactics include:
- claiming the death is excluded from policy coverage
- claiming the policy was voided or expired prior to the death
- providing false or misleading information about the terms and conditions within the policy
- alleging that there was a misrepresentation of facts (e.g. wrong age or material representation)
- falsely claiming loved ones were not included as covered beneficiaries
- alleging there were missing premium payments
What If There Are Competing Claims?
A separate issue that can arise following a death is a situation where there are competing claims for the insurance benefits of the deceased. This refers to a dispute that may occur between two or more beneficiaries (former or current) seeking life insurance coverage.
This may be common in cases where there are divorced spouses, business partners, new spouses, step-children, and others involved who are inclined to pursue a claim. These situations can become complicated, and may be best navigated with the help of an experienced life insurance recovery lawyer.
How Our Life Insurance Recovery Lawyers Can Help
Seeking life insurance benefits in the wake of a death can be a confusing and distressing process. Experiencing road bumps in the process of receiving these benefits can create an additional burden that no person should have to face while grieving.
If you’re having issues receiving your entitled benefits from a life insurance company, a lawyer can help you by guiding you through the process of filing a dispute with the insurance company, investigating your claim, or settling competing claims.
Depending on the nature of your case, the insurance recovery lawyers of Florin|Roebig can help you by:
- reviewing and explaining the coverage included in your policy
- conducting an external review of your claim
- consulting legal and life insurance experts
- investigating your claim for evidence of bad faith
- collecting evidence to support your dispute
- communicating with the insurance company and other claimants
- negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company
Our life insurance lawyers have extensive experience assisting surviving loved ones who are in various stages of the claims process, whether you’re in the process of filing a dispute or have already done so without success.
America’s Top-Rated Life Insurance Claims Lawyers
Voted one of America’s top law firms, Florin|Roebig staffs a team of hard-working lawyers who are committed to protecting the rights of individuals who are entitled to fair compensation from their insurance companies.
Our insurance recovery lawyers are ready to hear your case right away to help ensure you don’t have to wait any longer than is necessary to receive the payment you’re owed. Our law firm has a reputation for being efficient and steadfast in fighting on behalf of clients who have been unlawfully mistreated by entities large and small. Don’t wait to learn what we can do for you.
We Are Nationally Awarded Lawyers
Contact Us Today For Help With Your Life Insurance Claim
Filing a dispute with an insurance company for a denied or underpaid claim can be a complicated process. Our lawyers can make this process simpler by utilizing our legal resources to settle your case as soon as possible, allowing you to grieve without unnecessary stress.
Call the offices of Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top insurance recovery lawyers to determine your legal options.