Wrongful Refusal to Pay Claims
Insurance companies routinely look for reasons to deny claims. Each claim not paid adds to the insurance company's profit. A typical method for reducing claim payouts is for an insurer to find incorrect or incomplete information on the life insurance application. Such refusal to pay often constitutes a breach of contract and in violation of Texas laws prohibiting insurers from acting in bad faith.
A life insurance policy is a contract between a policyholder and an insurance company. Consequently, when facts come to light that an insurer believes violates the terms of a policy, they often claim they have the right to deny coverage. The issue, however, is determining whether or not an alleged violation actually constitutes a violation of contract terms.
Insurers companies often focus on extraneous terms in an effort to rescind a life insurance policy. When these actions are immaterial to the cause of death, a breach of contract has likely occurred. For example, an insurer may deny a death claim on an insured that died in a car accident but did not indicate on his original policy that he was a smoker. Here, the insurer might argue that the policy was voided by false information. However, the alleged misrepresentation must be considered material under Texas law for the insurance company to rescind the policy and void life insurance coverage. Further, even a material misrepresentation may not void coverage if the two year period of contestability has expired.
By employing such tactics, insurance companies know that many claimants will simply give up, either unaware of their legal rights or reluctant to consult an attorney. Or they may convince an unrepresented claimant to settle for pennies on the dollar.
If you need help in collecting life insurance funds, we have the litigation experience to help you prevail against the insurance company. Please contact us for a free legal review of your claim.
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