Life Insurance Lawyer New York
Has your valid policy been denied by the insurer? Has your payment been delayed? Unfortunately, this happens to many people throughout the state. When a loved one passes away, as a beneficiary, you may be left to deal with a cold and impersonal company that does any and everything possible to avoid paying your claim. You could then be left high and dry to pay for medical and funeral expenses, not to mention left facing a bleak financial future.
Our top-rated bad faith attorneys are dedicated to helping people recover the money to which they are entitled. We understand that losing a loved one is an extremely difficult and emotionally trying experience, and the last thing you want to worry about is money. That is why our attorneys will fight to protect your rights and ensure the company upholds its agreement.
Insurance companies, large and small, frequently try to avoid paying out on policies. After all, these companies make more money when they collect premiums than when they pay out claims. Therefore, some companies may look for any reason to retroactively cancel your policy or deny payment for your claim. By working with our highly experienced lawyers, you have the best chance to get the payment you deserve. Our firm recovers the full policy amount the majority of the time.
New York Life Insurance Law
Carriers can deny life insurance claims for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for denial is a material misrepresentation by the insured on an application. Under New York law, failure to disclose that the insured consulted a certain doctor or was treated at a hospital within a certain period of time from the date of the application constitutes material misrepresentation. The test for determining whether a misrepresentation is trivial or material is whether the insurance company would have rejected the application had the insured disclosed the truth.
Specifically, pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 149(2), a representation is a statement as to past or present fact, made to the insurer by or by the authority of the applicant for insurance or the prospective insured, at or before the making of the insurance contract as an inducement to the making thereof. A misrepresentation is a false representation, and the facts misrepresented are those facts which make the representation false. Moreover, no misrepresentation shall avoid any contract of insurance or defeat recovery under it unless such misrepresentation was material. No misrepresentation is deemed material unless knowledge by the insurer of the facts misrepresented would have led to a refusal by the insurer to make such contract. In determining the question of materiality, evidence of the practice of the insurer which made such contract with respect to the acceptance or rejection of similar risks is admissible.
Thus, for example, a misrepresentation that an applicant for life insurance has not had previous medical treatment, consultation or observation, or has not had previous treatment or care in a hospital or other like institution, shall be deemed a misrepresentation that the applicant has not had the disease, ailment or other medical impairment for which such treatment or care was given or which was discovered by any licensed medical practitioner as a result of such consultation or observation. The New York law states that if in any action to rescind any such contract or to recover on it any such misrepresentation is proved by the insurer, and the insured or any other person having or claiming a right under such contract shall prevent full disclosure and proof of the nature of such medical impairment, such misrepresentation shall be presumed to have been material.
Another common misstatement on an insurance application is concealment or omission about an existing life insurance policy, concealment of criminal record, motor vehicle violations, or driver's license revocation/suspension. In such cases, however, it is the insurance company who has the burden to establish as a matter of law that it would not have issued the life insurance policy to the insured had the application contained accurate information concerning the insured's motor vehicle accident record, criminal history and other life insurance policies. An experienced New York life insurance lawyer will demand that the insurance company adduce sufficient proof as to its underwriting practices with respect to applicants with a history such as that of the insured. Such proof may be an underwriter's testimony as to the internal company practices of determining eligibility or company's guidelines.
In addition, a skilled New York life insurance attorney will investigate into whether the insurance carrier failed to make reasonable inquiries regarding the decedent's application's answers. In many cases, it is found that the company should have made relatively easy and simple inquiries into the insured's medical, driving or criminal record or that the carrier was on notice that the insured had another life insurance policy at the time of application. If the insured provided false information on a life insurance application, New York law requires the company to deem material information worth verifying. If the company failed to verify such information, it points to a lack of materiality.
If your claim was denied, you need to consult an experienced New York attorney who focuses on recovering death benefits for beneficiaries. The Insurance Claim Law Firm is a top life insurance firm with a proven record of success in recovering millions of dollars in denied life insurance claims.
Policies Recovered For Our Clients
- AIG: Self-inflicted Injury Refusal $2,000,000.00
- Mass Mutual: Wouldn't Honor Contract $1,700,000.00
- Prudential: Mistake on the Application $1,500,000.00
- AETNA: Refusal Due to Alcohol $900,000.00
- Penn Mutual: Suicide Nonpayment $825,000.00
- New York Life: Bad Faith Nonpayment $750,000.00
- AIG: Would Not Honor Policy $640,000.00
- Unum: Extremely Long Delay $600,000.00
- ING: Two Year Contestability Period $600,000.00
- Gerber: Beneficiary Denial $575,000.00
- Colonial: Mistake on Application $500,000.00
- Farmers: Alleged Misrepresentation $500,000.00
- Nationwide: Preexisting Condition $450,000.00
- Sun: Allegation of Misrepresentation $400,000.00
- Combined: Suicide Denial $300,000.00
- Savings Bank: Omission on Application $300,000.00
- New York Life: Wouldn't Honor Policy $200,000.00
- Monumental: Refusal to Pay Money $200,000.00
- USAA: Car Racing Exclusion Nonpayment $100,000.00
- Farmers Best: Very Long Delay of Funds $100,000.00
Geer v. Union Mut. Life Ins.Co., 273 N.Y. 261 (N.Y.1937)
Giuliani v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 269 A.D.376 (N.Y. App. Div. 1945)
Best v. United States Life Insurance Co. in City of New York, 2008 NY Slip Op 32927U(N.Y. Sup. Ct. Oct. 15, 2008).
Sonkin Assoc. v. Colombian Mut. Life Ins. Co., 150 A.D. 764 (1989).
Curanovic v. New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 307 A.D.2d 435.