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When someone purchases a life insurance policy, their intention is to ensure the financial well-being of their beneficiaries. If they die within the policy term, their loved ones receive the death benefit to help foster their financial security. For many, such policies provide peace of mind that their loved ones will be cared for even after they’re gone.
However, insurance companies have significant motivation to deny claims in order to make money for their shareholders. For this reason, they often deny or delay payment on valid life insurance claims.
If your life insurance claim was wrongly denied or payment is being delayed, you’ll find a life insurance lawyer serving Missouri at Boonswang Law who can help you submit a claim and litigate your case, if necessary.
Contact us today to start the process of getting the compensation you deserve.
Boonswang Law’s life insurance lawyers fight for the benefits of people across Missouri.
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Common Denial Reasons on Life Insurance Claims in Missouri
Insurance companies don’t automatically issue funds after a policyholder’s death. If your loved one passed away and you’re owed life insurance, you have to submit a claim to receive benefits. Even then, there are several common reasons why a life insurance company in Missouri may deny your claim.
Insufficient Proof of Death
When a policyholder dies in Missouri, insurance companies require official documentation before they’ll issue death benefits to the beneficiaries. Acceptable forms of proof include:
- A death certificate
- An obituary
- A funeral home invoice
Under certain circumstances, such as the policyholder passing away overseas, obtaining one or more of these documents could prove difficult. If the insurance company denies your life insurance claim due to lack of proof, contact us — we can help.
The life insurance company may even owe you interest.
Talk With an Experienced Missouri Life Insurance Lawyer at Boonswang Law
Are you a Missouri life insurance beneficiary or policyholder facing the challenge of navigating denials, delays, and appeals? Boonswang Law is here to help.
Our life insurance lawyers have spent decades assisting beneficiaries in getting the death benefits to which they’re entitled. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your life insurance claim case.
Lapse or Termination of Life Insurance Policy
To maintain life insurance coverage, a policyholder must pay standard monthly premium payments. If these payments lapse, the policy may no longer be valid. This means the insurance company can deny claims on the policy after your death.
Missouri has regulations pertaining to the termination of life insurance coverage. Life insurance companies sometimes fail to follow those regulations in order to make money for their shareholders. This often results in failure to pay out funds that are owed to life insurance beneficiaries.
If your claim was denied due to lapse, we can help you compile and submit an appeal. Call us today to discuss your claim.
Cause of Death Excluded from Coverage
Life insurance policies list causes of death that are not covered which are called exclusions. For example, suicide and death due to terrorism or acts of war are common exclusions in life insurance policies.
If there is even a remote possibility an exclusion can apply to a policyholder’s death, the life insurance company will likely attempt to deny your claim. In these cases, Boonswang Law can investigate the denial to show that the exclusion may not apply. These investigations often result in the beneficiary receiving what they are owed.
Missouri policyholders who are at greater risk of dying during the policy term pay higher premiums than those who are less at risk. The life insurance company calculates that risk by factoring in things like a policyholder’s age, weight, occupation, health and medical conditions, and lifestyle habits like drinking alcohol or smoking.
If a policyholder omits information or makes a mistake on the initial application for life insurance or the medical questionnaire, the life insurance company will allege that they misrepresented themselves in order to get a lower premium payment and then deny your claim.
Call us if your claim was denied due to misrepresentation. In many cases, we can settle with the insurance company for an amount that is the death benefit minus what the policyholder would have paid in premiums had the mistake or omission not occurred.
Insurance Scams & Bad Faith: What to Watch Out For
When it comes to opening a life insurance policy, you need to be vigilant to ensure that the insurance company is acting in good faith. There are a few common scams which insurance companies sometimes use to protect their bottom line and deny your family the compensation they’re entitled to after a death.
Indexed Universal Life Insurance
Indexed universal life insurance (IUL) can be undertaken in good faith, but they’re more frequently used to scam those trying to grow their money. These policies often use complex and technical language that may be difficult for the policyholder to understand.
They promise to grow your savings by contributing payments to an S&P 500 or NASDAQ account. However, these accounts grow very slowly. If you’re older or don’t have much disposable income, it’s more beneficial to the insurance company than to you.
Churning scams use complex language and processes to mislead policyholders into agreeing to purchase a new policy for lower payments or a lower premium. However, the insurance company then uses funds in the original policy to pay into the new policy. This causes the old policy to lapse after all the funds have been drained from it.
Insurance companies usually target long-term policyholders for this kind of scam. If you have older loved ones with life insurance, be sure to educate them about this possibility.
Insurance Bad Faith
When it comes to life insurance, acting in bad faith means that the company has knowingly and willfully denied, delayed, or reduced your life insurance payout without any legal reason. If you suspect that this has happened to you, contact Boonswang Law to learn more about your rights and next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions for Life Insurance Benefits in Missouri
A life insurance company should pay the beneficiary within 30 to 60 days of the claim being submitted.
If this time has passed and your claim has not been paid yet, contact us immediately. When a life insurance company unreasonably delays payment on a life insurance claim, they may owe you interest on the death benefit.
If the delay is unreasonable, meaning, the life insurance company had no valid reason for waiting to pay your claim, you may be entitled to interest on the death benefit. Call us to discuss your case.
You can — and should — submit an appeal but it is in your best interest to have Boonswang Law do so on your behalf. Life insurance companies frequently deny valid claims to protect their bottom line and make money for their shareholders.
When you receive the denial letter you should also receive documents explaining how to contest the denial with the life insurance company.
Call us if you need to contest denial of your life insurance claim — we can help you fight back.
Since a minor cannot directly receive life insurance death benefits, minors listed as beneficiaries will be assigned conservators by the Missouri courts. However, conservators have free reign over the minor’s beneficiary funds until they come of age.
Those creating insurance policies who want a minor to receive death benefits should set up a trust with a minor as the beneficiary of the trust. They can then name the trust as a beneficiary of the life insurance policy. This allows more freedom in appointing a trustee.
Though policyholders have the right to change their beneficiaries at any time before their death, you can contest a beneficiary change if you suspect it was fraudulent or made under duress.
However, it can be very challenging to prove these suspicions, so it’s best to have experienced life insurance attorneys on your side.
If you’re a beneficiary being denied life insurance benefits because of lapse payments, you can submit an appeal. If the policy was mishandled by the insurance company or the insured’s employer, you may still be entitled to payments. Contact our Missouri life insurance lawyers — we’ll help you submit a thorough appeal.
There is no public record of those who held insurance policies. If you believe your deceased loved one had a life insurance policy, you can examine their paperwork and bank statements for evidence that one exists. You can also contact their former employer to see if life insurance was offered as part of their benefits.
Never — if the beneficiary was changed after the date of the policyholder’s death it is a fraudulent change. If you believe someone is being dishonest, contact Boonswang Law to assist you.
Yes — especially if the policyholder was married more than once. If you were a current or former spouse of the deceased policyholder and were not named a beneficiary, you can contest the policy. The life insurance lawyers at Boonswang Law can help you fight for what’s yours.
If there’s no beneficiary listed on your loved one’s life insurance policy, the benefits will be paid out to the secondary or contingent beneficiary. If there are no secondary or contingent beneficiaries listed — or they cannot be located — funds from the policy will likely be paid into the estate.
Life insurance funds paid into the estate are subject to the same taxes and fees as the estate. This means the policyholder’s heirs may still get some of the funds, but it will likely be less than the amount listed in the life insurance policy. Call Boonswang Law to assist you in getting the estate paid.