Louisiana ERISA Life Insurance Benefits Lawyer
Planning for the future often involves purchasing a life insurance policy for many people. These policies provide the loved ones or beneficiaries of a policyholder with a sum of money when they pass away, and this money is often used to cover funeral expenses and other costs associated with the death of an individual.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often attempt to avoid paying beneficiaries the money they are entitled to, and they will frequently look for any excuse possible to deny benefits. This can be frustrating, but by working with a Louisiana ERISA life insurance benefits lawyer, you may be able to obtain the benefits to which you are entitled. A dedicated ERISA attorney could fight for you.
The Role of Exclusion Clauses
Under ERISA regulations, insurance companies have a right to include exclusion clauses in their policies. These clauses can explicitly and implicitly prevent a person or their beneficiary from receiving coverage if they engage in certain risk-taking behaviors.
For example, the beneficiary of a person who scuba dives regularly or climbs mountains may be unable to obtain their insurance payout if they are killed while engaging in one of these activities. In general, most insurance policies would not pay a beneficiary if the policyholder dies in one of the following ways:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Suicide or self-injury
- Private plane crash
- Illegal activity
- Act of war
It is also important to note insurance companies often deny benefits to policyholders who misrepresent their age and health condition or engage in dangerous activities. Some insurance companies still offer coverage to these types of individuals, but they can—and usually do—charge much higher rates.
The Significance of the “Contestable Period”
Life insurance typically does not cover a policyholder until a certain amount of time has passed, usually two years after they initiate the policy. This timeframe is known as the “contestable period,” and if a policyholder dies during this time, the insurer is not legally required to pay benefits to their designated beneficiary. To make matters worse, the process of filing a claim is often so complicated that many policyholders do not know what steps to take to expedite this period.
This, unfortunately, means insurance companies—even those overseen by ERISA—often deny claims based on the smallest filing mistakes. Some companies even go as far as to deny a claim without telling the beneficiary of the policyholder a mistake exists or a specific document has not been received.
Claims of Omission and Misrepresentation
Life insurance companies deny benefits claims for a myriad of reasons, but one of the most common reasons is omission. Often, if an insurance company believes a person forgot to disclose or intentionally omitted certain information when purchasing a policy, they have a right to deny the claim of their beneficiaries.
For example, if a person drowns, their insurance company may attempt to avoid paying benefits to their beneficiary if they forgot to disclose they suffered from an unrelated medical condition, such as depression or high blood pressure. Insurance companies can also deny a claim if they believe the policyholder misrepresented themselves in any way.
Since insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with, it may be wise for many individuals to seek out assistance from a Louisiana ERISA life insurance benefits lawyer after they receive a denial.
Let a Louisiana ERISA Life Insurance Benefits Attorney Help
Life insurance is far more complicated than many people realize, and if the insurance company denies your benefits, it can feel as if you have nowhere to turn. Fortunately, you may be able to take legal action against an insurance company, even if it denied your initial claim. Get in touch with a Louisiana ERISA life insurance benefits lawyer to speak with a legal professional about your options.