FAQ’s

Denied & Disputed Life Insurance Claims – FAQ

New York, New Jersey & Massachusetts


What is a material misrepresentation?

A material misrepresentation is any fabrication, distortion, or intentional concealment of a fact. A material misrepresentation must be significant enough so that it would have caused the Insurance Company to refuse to issue the policy.

A material misrepresentation must be significant, like stating in your application that you are not a smoker, but through an investigation, the life insurance company determines that you do in fact smoke. A material misrepresentation is not a fallacy about irrelevant facts, such as hair color or eye color.

Material misrepresentations can be made in the life insurance application, life insurance policy amendment, life insurance policy application for reinstatement, or a life insurance application for late enrollment. Some of the most common pieces of information in which material misrepresentations are discovered are:

  • Occupation
  • Employment History
  • Age
  • Income
  • Tobacco Usage
  • Alcohol Usage
  • Assets
  • Other Life Insurance Policies
  • Dangerous Hobbies or Traits

The definition of a material misrepresentation is very debatable.The experienced life insurance lawyers from Trief & Olk will work with the insurance company to show that what the life insurance company believes is a material misrepresentation is not significant enough to justify denial of the life insurance policy claim. We may also be able to show that the decedent did not intentionally make the material misrepresentations.

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Why will the life insurance company want to settle out of court?

Many times, when confronted by an experienced life insurance attorney from Trief & Olk, life insurance companies are much more willing to settle. Not only will they realize that you have legal representation that knows how to handle life insurance claim denials, but they also want to avoid the bad publicity a life insurance claim denial might bring.

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What is the period of contestability?

When a life insurance policyholder passes away while they are within the period of contestability, the life insurance company has the ability to investigate their death and whether their life insurance policy had any material misrepresentations.

If, through their investigation, the life insurance company discovers any possible material misrepresentations, it has the ability to deny any life insurance claim filed by the surviving beneficiaries of the policyholder.

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How long is the period of contestability?

The period of contestability is similar to a statute of limitations. Each state has a different length of time for insurance companies’ period of contestability. In most states, the period of contestability is two years from the time of the life insurance application.

If your loved one passes away during the period of contestability, the insurance company will most likely investigate the life insurance policy, application, and any other relevant documents. During their investigation, they will determine if there are any material misrepresentations that they can base their life insurance claim denial on.

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Do I have to live in New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts to file my case?

No. If your life insurance claim has been denied, you do not have to live in New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts in order to get representation from the life insurance lawyers at Trief & Olk. In fact, there are many life insurance companies that are based in New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts, which have policyholders all over the country.

No matter where you live, if you have been denied a life insurance claim, contact the experienced life insurance claim attorneys at Trief & Olk. Depending on where your life insurance company is located, we may be able to help you with your life insurance claim denial.

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What insurance companies have you litigated against?

The law firm of Trief & Olk has represented many different clients after their life insurance claim denials. We have negotiated or litigated against some of the largest life insurance companies in the country, including:

  • John Hancock
  • National Western
  • New York Life
  • Met Life
  • Lincoln
  • Banker’s Life

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Is life insurance denial “bad faith”?

No, life insurance claim denial is not the same as insurance bad faith. Insurance bad faith occurs when an insurance company fails to uphold their end of an insurance policy by refusing to pay your insurance claim, or offering you an unreasonably low amount of compensation for your claim.

Life insurance claim denial is not insurance bad faith because it is a contractual issue. When a life insurance company denies a claim based on material misrepresentations, they are voiding the life insurance policy all together. A life insurance claim attorney will work on your behalf to try to get your life insurance claim paid.

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If you have any additional life insurance claim denial questions, contact the life insurance claims attorneys at the law firm of Trief & Olk. We will evaluate you claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

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