by Brian Mahany
We see many cases of insurance bad faith claims and this story is no exception. In a recent lawsuit, Jose Herrera sued Met Life after learning that Met Life paid the wrong person the proceeds of his late wife’s insurance policy. That sort of thing does happen and in most cases, the insurance company makes good. Not in this case.
According to published reports and court filings, Jose Herrera’s wife, Maria, died in 2006. She was insured for $302,000. That’s where things went wrong. Although Jose was the beneficiary, Met Life allowed his deceased wife’s daughter from a former marriage to collect her death benefit. Apparently she forged Herrara’s signature on a claim form and had the proceeds sent to her.
Met Life refused to pay Herrera leaving him with nothing. After being sued, Met Life still refused to pay and sought to have the complaint dismissed. “No go” was the response of a federal court judge in New York. Herrera won the first round but the case isn’t over.
If Herrera can prove that Met Life failed to use reasonable care, he may be able to collect from Met Life. That means the insurance company would either take the loss or try and get the money back from the step daughter.
Met Life is the largest life insurance company in the U.S. In recent months it has come under intense scrutiny for failing to pay beneficiaries. Several states are investigating Met Life and other life insurance companies claiming they should be more proactive in notifying beneficiaries of the existence of a policy. If Herrera’s allegations are correct, Met Life has paid the wrong beneficiary in this case and refuses to make good.
Insurance companies are required to deal with their customers in good faith. Refusing to honor legitimate claims certainly doesn’t sound like good faith. If you have been victimized by the misconduct of an insurance company and can’t resolve the problem, give us a call. We also encourage you to visit our Insurance Bad Faith page. Our insurance bad faith and fraud lawyers are a phone call or mouse click away.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Detroit & Portland. Services in most jurisdictions.