by Brian Mahany
Our law firm recently had a case in which an insurance company refused to defend a financial planner who was sued by a disgruntled client. Unfortunately, these stories are common.
Insurance companies refusing to defend their clients when they are sued or pay claims is nothing new. Our case was startling in that our client outlined in advance what his business plans looked like and was told in writing that his activities would be covered. Only when there was a claim, of course, did the company balk and refuse to pay.
Now our client has sued his insurance company. It’s a double hit for the client. Until the case against the insurance company is resolved, the client must pay out-of-pocket to defend the original lawsuit brought against him and must also pay lawyers to sue his carrier.
Because of that lawsuit, we have hired an experienced trial lawyer, Joe Bird, to help clients with bad faith claims against insurance companies.
If you thought our client was the victim of a terrible injustice, wait until you read about Jane Pierce.
According to an article in Investment News, Pierce’s husband, Todd, struggled nine years with cancer. In July of 2009, Todd died in a car crash.
The medical examiner ruled the crash an accident.
The police ruled the crash an accident.
Unfortunately, the Pierce’s life insurance company, MetLife, decided it was suicide and denied Janet’s claim for her husband’s life insurance benefits.
Denials of life insurance claims are devastating for families. The whole purpose of paying insurance premiums for years and years is to leave your family a safety net when you die. Falsely telling family members that their loved one committed suicide is especially painful.
Under federal law, insurance companies can often withhold benefit payments while a matter is in dispute. It doesn’t matter how serious or frivolous the dispute. Unfortunately, many families are so traumatized by the death that they simply don’t sue. Often, they are too cash strapped to properly investigate and prosecute their claims against powerful insurance companies and their armies of lawyers. In other words, the insurance company frequently wins.
Federal law also limits certain claims for punitive damages against insurance companies. It’s no wonder insurance companies delay or refuse to pay claims. It simply isn’t profitable for them to withhold the money, especially if there is no risk of punitive damages.
The Pierce case involved MetLife. A review of government records shows MetLife is no stranger to problems and controversy.
Fortunately there is a somewhat happy ending to the Pierce story. Although it took a year and a lawsuit, Todd’s family ultimately was paid.
If you are denied coverage or your insurance company refuses to defend you in court, fight back! Contact an experienced insurance bad faith lawyer.
Mahany & Ertl is pleased to announce that Joe Bird is of counsel to the firm. Joe is an experienced trial attorney with several decades of knowledge, wisdom and skill. Our team of fraud lawyers can help you if you have been denied coverage, if an insurance company denies you benefits or if you are the victim of bad investment advice, bad lawyers, faulty welfare benefit plans (419 plans) or Ponzi schemes. If its fraud, we can probably help.
In many cases we can handle claims on a contingency or hybrid fee basis.
For a no obligation, no nonsense review of your claim, contact Brian Mahany today at (414) 704-6731 or through the website, https://www.mahanyertl.com
MAhany & Ertl LLC Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine & Troy, Michigan