When Alexander Kim passed away at the age of 47 due to cancer, he left behind a wife and young daughter, but he didn’t leave them without financial protection.
Alexander, a financial analyst, was the sole breadwinner of the family. He purchased a term life insurance policy with a benefit amount of $250,000, eight months before he was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer. He died almost one year later.
His wife, Tracy, was the beneficiary of the policy. She submitted a claim for the life insurance benefit a short while after Alexander’s passing. Tracy was a bit surprised that the insurance company was withholding payment even after she supplied them with her husband’s death certificate, and though she grew frustrated with their numerous requests for information, she did her best to cooperate, hoping that they would eventually be satisfied and pay her the full benefit amount so she could take care of her daughter.
She was shocked when RBC finally responded with a letter refusing to pay out, along with a cheque in the amount of $2400, refunding the total premiums Alexander had paid for the policy.
RBC alleged that Alexander had failed to disclose he had consulted a doctor regarding cancer in his initial application for coverage. His medical records showed that, two years before his cancer diagnosis, Alexander had visited his family doctor complaining of heartburn and difficulty swallowing. His family doctor had ordered an ultrasound but Alexander had never gotten around to visiting the ultrasound clinic.
When Alexander’s symptoms became worse two years later, after he had purchased the policy, he went back to his doctor. A second ultrasound was ordered as well as a biopsy and, this time, Alexander underwent the tests.
The results confirmed that he had cancer. According to RBC, this was a clear indication that Alexander had purchased the policy with the knowledge that he was ill.
When David Share met with Tracy, he explained that her case was, unfortunately, not unique. When death occurs within the first two years of a life insurance policy, it is often contested by the insurer. They investigate the claim for material misrepresentation–in other words, incorrect information the life insured may have innocently or fraudulently provided during the underwriting process–and review the claim against the specific clauses of the policy that apply during the two year contestability period.
The good news was that Mr. Share believed he could help Tracy to get the life insurance benefit her husband had intended for her and their daughter.
Tracy retained Share Lawyers to fight the insurance company on her behalf, and immediately felt a burden removed from her shoulders. With a team of experienced lawyers on her side, all she had to do was wait for results.
After a thorough review of Alexander’s medical information, Share Lawyers was able to determine that, even though Alexander had experienced symptoms that may very well have been early signs of esophageal cancer, he had not received any indication by his doctors that he was being tested for cancer when he was ordered to have an ultrasound. Moreover, his doctor had not made any mention of cancer in his clinical notes and records.
Since Alexander was diagnosed with cancer after he had purchased the policy, Share Lawyers determined that he had answered all the questions in his application for life insurance truthfully and accurately.
The insurance company finally backed down. Tracy was awarded the full benefit of $250,000.
*Names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of our clients.