ASK A LAWYER: Life Insurance
My spouse committed suicide and the insurance company refused to pay because of how she died. We had the insurance for five years. Can they do this?
Check the wording of the policy carefully. Most life insurance policies exclude payment if the death was as a result of suicide but only for a limited period of time. In the case of a policy that was in place for five years, suicide would not usually be a valid ground for denying the claim.
My father’s life insurance company refused to pay me because of “material misrepresentation.” What does this mean?
An allegation of material misrepresentation means that the insurance company is alleging either a failure to disclose or that the applicant lied about a material fact in their medical or personal history that would have resulted in the policy never being issued from the outset.
My wife passed away recently and my children and I are the beneficiaries of her life insurance policy, which she purchased a few months before her death. The insurance company seems to be making excuses not
to pay out, and they keep asking for access to more medical records. Why are they doing this to us?
They are looking for information to determine whether they can find a way to deny the claim based on material misrepresentation. When a death occurs within a few months of the policy being issued the suspicion levels are high and insurers will not rush to a decision to pay until a complete investigation is carried out.