Los Angeles Life Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer
A life insurance company denies a claim after the death of a loved one. The family is grieving, and now must cope with the frustration of the denied life-insurance claim. The Kristy Law Firm helps beneficiaries of life insurance policies after a life-insurance claim is unfairly denied. We also handle Accidental Death and Dismemberment (“ADD”) claims.
Life and ADD insurance policies often contain language that narrows the scope of coverage. Certain causes of death may be excluded from coverage; circumstances of the person’s death may affect whether it is considered “accidental.” Moreover, life insurers sometimes attempt to cancel the policy after the claim is made – even though all premiums have been paid (this practice is known as “post-claims underwriting”).
At The Kristy Law Firm, our Los Angeles life insurance bad faith attorneys aggressively yet ethically fight for the rights of life insurance beneficiaries. We fight with true grit to hold insurers responsible when they deny insurance benefits to which their policyholders are entitled.
We offer a free evaluation of your case. We represent insurance policyholders on a contingency-fee basis, which means that our clients owe us nothing unless and until we recover money for them. If you believe your life insurance claim was handled unfairly, call us today for a free evaluation of your case. Or, fill out the contact form for a free evaluation. Thank you, we look forward to discussing your case with you.
Life and Accidental Death Insurance Claims
Rescission for Material Misrepresentations in the Application
An insurer may rescind (cancel, as though it had never been issued) a life insurance policy for material misrepresentations in the application. Misrepresentations are “material” if the truth may have influenced the insurer’s decision to issue the policy. Materiality of a misrepresentation does not depend on its having had any connection to the insured’s death.
The Incontestability Clause
Life insurance policies issued or delivered in California must contain an “incontestability clause.” “Incontestability” means that the life insurance company may not challenge the validity of the policy. The incontestability clause makes the policy incontestable, except for nonpayment of premiums, after it has been in effect for a stated period of no more than two years during the insured’s lifetime. (See Ins. Code, § 10113.5—as to individual life insurance policies; and Ins. Code, § 10206—as to group life insurance policies.)
If the insured dies within the two-year period, the insurer may “contest” the policy for misstatements made in the application. The insurer may either assert fraud as a defense to a claim for policy benefits or sue to rescind the policy on the basis of such fraud. As long as the insured died within the contestability period, the insurer may contest a claim made even after expiration of the two-year period. (Amex Life Assur. Co. v. Sup.Ct. (Slome Capital Corp.) (1997) 14 Cal.4th 1231, 1236.)
Insurers sometimes use this practice of post-claims underwriting to unfairly deny Los Angeles life insurance claims. If you believe your life insurance claim has been unfairly denied, seek legal advice immediately.
Fraud in Whole-Life Policies
“Term life” policies insure a person’s life for a specific term, or period of time. A “whole life” insurance policy remains in force for the insured’s whole life and usually requires premiums to be paid every year into the policy. Whole-life policies are designed to build cash value, and their terms and benefit structure can be complex. If the insurer or its agent makes promises about the policy’s value or other terms, and fails to honor them, the insurer may be liable for fraud. If you believe you may be a victim of an insurer’s fraud, seek legal advice immediately.
Los Angeles Life Insurance Bad Faith Attorney – Call Today
There are many other important exclusions and conditions of coverage in life and accidental-death claims. If you are a beneficiary of such a policy and the insurer is delaying or denying payment of a claim, it is important to obtain a lawyer’s careful analysis of the policy and the claim denial.