Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Insurance and Lawyer Woes. An Open Question.

This is one for legal and insurance people.
About two months after Mom died (October ‘17), Dad and I went to a lawyer's office to work up a Power of Attorney and Will. While we were there the lawyer offered to file the two life insurance policies for Dad. Time went by, one paid out the other did not. The lawyer sent a follow up letter and the company replied that they had no record of her policy. This was around the time Dad passed (February ’18). So, some time went by before I contacted the lawyer again, just because of, well, dealing with everything. When I did, they said they would again contact the insurance company saying they no insurance company would risk a judgement against them because it would hurt their standing. In the meantime, Dad’s insurance went through, save one policy that was either canceled or was a term polity that ended in 2011. It was all timely and explained by July ’18. No real problem. However, no response from the nonpayer on Mom’s insurance. Periodically, I would send an email to the lawyer’s assistant/paralegal. I requested the lawyer move on to the next step. Mom had been dead for 11 months. The last few months dad was alive he would ask *every* single day if I had heard from the lawyer about the life insurance. He was retired and alone and in that situation the days seem long. I spent too much time dwelling on it. We even had arguments over it. These things take time, I would say. He was hyper focused. But I digress…
I emailed again in August 2018, no response.
September. No response.
October. I questioned if they were even getting my e-mails.
They responded by setting up a phone conference in November. We spoke and the lawyer said that it would not be cost effective to go to court over the policy. That didn’t make sense to me. First it seemed like a huge loophole that unscrupulous businesses would take advantage of. “We don’t pay out on policies that small because they can’t afford to sue to get the funds.” Heck, there is even small claims court exist for small amounts of money. Is there a legal donut hole? One would think if the paperwork is in order, it would be a slam dunk and wouldn’t the loser have to pay the court costs or they be included in the suit? I asked the questions, but I received no answers. He made a hasty excuse to get off the phone and promised to call back. He didn’t. I made another appointment for another phone conference. They called and claimed he was in court on the scheduled day of the call. They could not make a new appointment because of the uncertainty of the holidays.
I’m suspicious as the calendar flipped to 2019.
Months went by with failed attempts to make contact, finally the paralegal called and said some life insurance policies only pay out for a certain time then stop paying out. This sounded to me like a term policy. But again, I had questions. Wouldn’t the policy say that? Wouldn’t the insurance company send a letter that said, “We are sorry that policy was a term policy and stopped paying out on X date” as opposed to “We have no record of that policy.” Again, she never said it WAS a term policy but they “thought” it “might” be. The language perplexed me. It seemed noncommittal.
I was finally told by the paralegal. “There is nothing else we can do.”
Fair enough. I can live with that, if you explain *why* there is nothing else you can do?
Again, I would receive no answer.
I ran into the lawyer downtown by chance and tried to ask some of these questions. “I don’t have it in front of me, call me at the office.” No response. Texted. No response. Email. No response. Facebook messenger. No response. Twitter. No response. It was now May. Then June. Then July.
Finally, I contacted them saying “if you can’t or won’t answer my questions can you give me copies of the correspondence between you and the insurance company and a copy of the policy itself so I can take it to another attorney who can answer the questions for me.”
I was handing him an out. No more calls, texts, emails from me. All he had to do was give me the paperwork. I offered to go his office to pick it up to save postage. Nothing. Nada.
Finally, in September 18th, 2019, two years, one month, two weeks and one day after mom died. I texted if there was some other issue with the policy that I was unaware of because it makes no sense that he can neither answer my questions nor provide the paperwork for me to take elsewhere. There was a claim it was mailed in December. At this point found it dubious. He said, “Send me the questions, I’ll look at them during a break this afternoon and get back to you.”
I sent him the following:
“<Your paralegal> said you thought the life insurance was only for a certain period of time and then would not pay out. This sounded to me like a term life insurance policy to me but that begs the question 1): If it were a term life insurance policy would it not say so in the paperwork and instead of claiming they had no record of it would they not simply say, it was a term policy and has expired? That leads to question 2) If it was not term life and they are telling the truth about not having a record of the paperwork then why is our paperwork not good enough as proof? Which leads to the last question 3) Why is there nothing we can do if the policy was paid up, there were no loans against it and the paperwork is in order?
At one point you mentioned cost effectiveness of legal action, but would we be able to sue for the owed about plus the court cost, filing and other expenses? It seems like a big loophole if not. Literally setting the limit of ripping people off at the price of court costs.”
By chance, I saw him downtown that afternoon. Clearly not working (on break?). I still have not received the paperwork nor have I gotten those answers. Tried contacting him in October and December, Again, just asking for the paperwork. It's now 2020.
This is dogging me. It’s like an open wound. I can’t move on. I really, really *need* is answers on this. If the policy was a term policy, it would only take 5 minutes to pull it and read it to find out. If it’s not a term policy, and it was paid up and the paperwork in order why is there no recourse? So why all the foot dragging? Why put me through this? The evasiveness of the lawyer makes me wonder if he made some kind of error and is afraid of getting sued himself. The irony is I have no idea how much the policy is for. I never saw it; it went straight from Dad’s hand to the lawyer.
It makes no sense.

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