Andrew Holmes, a 58-year-old Operations Manager from Windsor, Ontario, was found deceased on March 12, 2013, by his wife, Marie. Autopsy and toxicology reports concluded that the cause of death was a lethal combination of pain killers and anti-anxiety medications, which caused an unintentional overdose.
A short while after Andrew’s funeral, Marie, who had been a home-maker throughout her marriage, put in a claim for Andrew’s life insurance money. She waited anxiously for a response so that she could pay off the mortgage and the bills that had been piling up since she lost Andrew.
Since Andrew had purchased his life insurance policy only 14 months prior to his death, his claim fell within the two-year contestability period. Marie was assured by their financial advisor that the insurance company’s request for Andrew’s full medical records was standard procedure at this point, but they were blindsided when the insurance company finally responded with a denial. According to them, Marie would not be receiving the $250,000 life insurance benefit because Andrew’s death was caused by suicide. Marie was not only shocked, she was furious that the insurance claims manager accused Andrew of killing himself. It was an insult to his memory and a poor excuse not to pay her what was rightfully hers. Not knowing where to turn, she asked her financial advisor for help. He handed Marie a brochure from Share Lawyers, assuring her that if anyone could help her fight the insurance company’s denial, Share Lawyers could.
Marie met with David Share for a free consultation. David was compassionate, professional and patient with Marie, who was overcome with emotion when she discussed the loss of her husband and the financial stress caused by the insurance company’s refusal to pay her the benefit. Marie immediately felt that she had an ally in David and was impressed with his 27 years of experience in insurance denials, so she asked David to take on her case. The staff and team of lawyers at Share Lawyers went through Andrew’s insurance policy and medical records with a fine-tooth comb. All evidence, including reports from Andrew’s family physician, physiotherapist and psychiatrist, pointed to the same conclusion that was noted in the medical examiner’s report: the drug overdose was accidental and the suicide clause did not apply in this case. The insurance company could no longer ignore the facts. They agreed to settle with Marie and paid her the full amount of the life insurance claim plus a portion of her legal fees. They did not, however, acknowledge any wrongdoing on their part and did not pay any additional damages or penalties. Marie was grateful to Share Lawyers for defending her rights at a time when she felt vulnerable and alone. She used the money to pay off her mortgage and car loan. Today, Marie is working part-time at a retail store and enjoying a new chapter in her life.
*Names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of our clients.