Archives: Life Insurance

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Retained Asset Account ERISA Class Action: First Circuit Overturns Judgment in Favor of Plaintiffs

One of the hot areas of class action litigation against life insurers over the last few years has been the use of retained asset accounts, whereby the insurer pays life insurance proceeds not by a lump sum but instead by providing beneficiaries with access to an interest-bearing account from which the funds can be drawn.  … Continue Reading

Life Insurance Class Action Involving Death Master File: Ohio Court of Appeals Upholds Dismissal

Over the last couple of years numerous class actions have been filed against life insurance companies alleging that the companies should be required to perform searches of the Social Security Death Master File database to ascertain whether death benefits may be due that have not been claimed by beneficiaries.  This has also been the focus … Continue Reading

Life Insurance “Checkbook” Accounts: Update on Prudential Case in Massachusetts

Life insurance class actions I have been following include the multi-district litigation (MDL) against Prudential Life Insurance Company of America pending in federal district court in Massachusetts.  This case involves the payment of life insurance benefits under servicemembers’ and veterans’ group life insurance programs that are operated by Prudential and subsidized by the federal government.  … Continue Reading

Life Insurance Class Action on Cost-of-Insurance Rates in Universal Life Policies: Wisconsin Federal District Court Applies Wal-Mart and Denies Class Certification

A recent decision on class certification in a case involving ratemaking for universal life insurance policies illustrates where the rubber is meeting the road in insurance class actions post-Wal-Mart.  It also reminds class action lawyers of the importance of considering carefully whether the putative class members would actually want the relief being sought by the … Continue Reading

Preliminary Injunctions in Insurance Class Actions: California Federal Court Enjoins Life Insurer From Implementing Rate Increase

Preliminary injunctions in insurance class actions are relatively rare, which is why the recent decision granting such an injunction in Yue v. Conseco Life Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46565 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 2, 2012), caught my attention.  The case involves life insurance products sold by Conseco Life that apparently became a particularly bad … Continue Reading

Recent Life Insurance Class Action Decisions Involving Social Security Death Master File and Sale of Annuities to Senior Citizens

Last week I noted that there have been a relatively large number of recent opinions in insurance class actions, and provided updates on a number of significant recent P&C decisions.  Now I’ll focus on significant recent life insurance cases.  The first involves the Social Security Death Master File, a hotbed of recent regulatory and class … Continue Reading

Life Insurance Class Actions on Retained Asset Accounts: New Decisions By Maine and Pennsylvania Federal District Courts

Those readers who have followed my blog regularly will be familiar with my prior posts regarding class actions involving life insurers’ use of “retained asset” or “checkbook” accounts.  Under this arrangement, the insurer pays the proceeds of a life insurance policy to a beneficiary by providing a checkbook for an interest-bearing account from which the … Continue Reading

Arkansas Supreme Court Allows Insurance Class Action to Proceed Despite Arbitration Provision

As I’ve noted in prior posts regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion (see, for example, my August 22, 2011 post), the insurance industry is in a somewhat unique position with respect to the use of arbitration clauses as a mechanism of avoiding class action exposure.  One reason for this … Continue Reading

More On Class Actions Involving Life Insurance “Checkbook” Accounts

Avid readers of this blog who follow developments in life insurance class actions will recall my posts earlier this year about cases claiming that life insurers improperly used “checkbook” accounts whereby, instead of issuing a check to a beneficiary for the full amount of the policy proceeds, they provide an interest-bearing account from which the … Continue Reading

Amount in Controversy Under CAFA: New Ohio Decision Illustrates Importance Of Tailoring Data To The Proposed Class Where Possible

One challenge defendants and their counsel face early in defending a putative class action filed in state court, assuming they would prefer to litigate in federal court, is how to show that the $5 million amount in controversy requirement is satisfied.  This must be done quickly so that the removal can be timely filed within … Continue Reading

Does State Law Vary on Breach of Contract? Yes, as a Recent Denial of Certification Recognizes

In seeking to certify multistate and nationwide class actions against insurance companies, plaintiffs’ attorneys often argue that the law of breach of contract is essentially the same nationwide, and therefore class certification is proper.  This argument has some appeal to some judges, at least at first blush.  As I think back to my contracts class … Continue Reading

Life Insurance Class Action Involving Sales Practices: Denial of Class Certification Affirmed By California Court of Appeal

The California Court of Appeal recently affirmed a denial of class certification in Fairbanks v. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company.  The plaintiffs alleged that Farmers violated the California Unfair Competition Law in connection with its marketing and sales of universal life and flexible universal life policies.  The central claim was that Farmers designed and … Continue Reading

Life Insurance Class Actions Involving Insurers’ Obligation to Search for Death Information: New York Insurance Department Issues New Requirement

I previously posted about new class actions against life insurance companies alleging that they should be required to determine whether their insureds have died where no claim for policy proceeds has been made, through searching the “Death Master File” of the Social Security Administration.  I raised a number of issues about the viability of these … Continue Reading

Life Insurance “Checkbook” Accounts: Massachusetts Federal Court Grants Class Certification

I’ve previously posted regarding class actions against life insurers involving the use of “checkbook” accounts to pay policy proceeds, including posts about the denial of a motion to dismiss in a case against Prudential in Massachusetts federal court and the denial of a motion to dismiss in a case against MetLife in Nevada federal court. … Continue Reading

New Life Insurance Class Action Alleges That Life Insurers Must Determine Whether Their Insureds Have Died

Do life insurers have an obligation to check databases to determine whether their insureds have died?  I recently came across a new class action filing in Stevenson v. Western & Southern Mutual Holding Company, No. CV 11 755966 (Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County) that makes such a claim. (E-mail me if you would … Continue Reading

Paying Claims With “Checkbook” Accounts: Motion to Dismiss Denied in MDL Against Prudential

Any insurer that issues payments by making “checkbooks” available to insureds should pay careful attention to a new trend of class actions.  I’ve posted a couple of times on the growing trend of class actions against life insurance companies involving the use of “checkbooks” to pay policy proceeds to beneficiaries (see my posts from May … Continue Reading

Life Insurance “Checkbook” Accounts: Nevada Federal Court Rules for Plaintiff

I previously posted on class actions involving life insurance “checkbook” accounts, where an insurer, instead of paying the proceeds of a life insurance policy in one payment, provides a beneficiary with a “checkbook” from which they can draw on the policy proceeds all at once or over time.  On April 27, 2011, a Nevada federal … Continue Reading

Life Insurance “Checkbook” Accounts: Truly a Basis for a Class Action?

A recent posting on Robert Berg’s Class Action Blog suggests that life insurance companies are “secretly profiting” by providing beneficiaries with a checkbook from which they can draw on the proceeds over time, instead of paying a lump sum.  Of course, unless there is some unusual provision in the life insurance policy to the contrary, the beneficiary could … Continue Reading