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Was Your American United Life Insurance Claim Denied?

Gianelli & Morris is Ready to Hear From You!

Life insurance is supposed to be a one-time chore. You shop for a plan, sign the papers, and then rest easy knowing that your family is protected so long as you continue paying your premiums. You may need to revisit your plan if your financial or family circumstances change (marriage, divorce, etc.), but for the most part, life insurance should not require regular maintenance. You purchase a plan and then when you pass away, your family gets the benefits necessary to keep them safe and secure. Unfortunately, large life insurance companies like American United do not make things so easy.

American United and other life insurance companies sometimes seem to do anything they can to avoid paying out the benefits they owe. They might point to language in the policy, medical facts on the ground, or even errors in the application as grounds for denying life insurance coverage. You need to know that when American United denies your life insurance coverage, you do not have to take that rejection at face value. You have the right to fight back, and you do not need to go it alone. The passionate life insurance denial attorneys at Gianelli & Morris are here to help.

Who is American United?

American United Life Insurance Company is an affiliate of OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc., a billion-dollar financial services mutual holding organization. The association has been in existence in some form selling life insurance since 1877 and is a multi-billion dollar purveyor of a variety of insurance products including disability and life. American United, like other big insurance companies, has been known to engage in stalling tactics, wrongful insurance conduct, and inappropriate claim denials in order to protect its bottom line.

Why Does American United Deny Claims?

There are a number of reasons that American United and other life insurance companies may choose to deny life insurance claims. The life insurance denial team at Gianelli & Morris has spent years protecting the rights of insurance policyholders and their families, and we have seen just about every possible reason for coverage denial. The reasons for denial may be legitimate, they may be a correctable error (such as missing information), and they may be a flat-out lie.

You have the right to contest a denial regardless of the stated justification. At Gianelli & Morris, our seasoned life insurance denial team will help you fight back against a wrongful insurance denial made in bad faith when they hide behind reasons such as:

  • Policy lapse. Insurers may claim that the premiums have not been paid for some time and thus the policy has lapsed. Insurers have certain notice requirements for letting a policy lapse and if they violate those requirements, they cannot rely on an alleged lapse to deny coverage.
  • Cause of death. Some policies may restrict coverage for certain causes of death. For example, death by suicide, a death that occurs during the commission of criminal activity, or death that results from the consumption of illegal substances may be excluded. In many cases, these restrictions are limited to certain time periods (g., suicide may be excluded only for the first two years after instituting the policy).
  • Involvement of a beneficiary. If a life insurance beneficiary is alleged to have caused the death of the insured party, the insurance company might refuse to pay out benefits until after a full investigation (both a criminal investigation and the insurance company’s own). If beneficiaries are involved, their share of the benefits will go to named contingent beneficiaries or the estate of the deceased.
  • Errors in the application. If a life insurance application includes material inaccuracies, then the insurer might rely on those errors to deny benefits and rescind the policy. There are significant restrictions on how and when insurers may rescind a life insurance policy, which we discuss below.

Policy Rescission and The Two-Year Contestability Period

Insurance companies may try to “rescind” a life insurance policy if they discover alleged errors in the original insurance application. Rescission may occur after the insured party passes away, but it is different from simple denial. Rescission is available where the policy itself was invalid because of a material misstatement or omission on the application; the insurer rescinds the policy, meaning they retroactively invalidate the policy and make it as if the policy was never issued.

Rescission requires that there was a material (i.e., important) error in the original application. If the applicant lied about their age, medical history, dangerous or unhealthy habits (drugs, smoking, skydiving, etc.), or preexisting medical conditions, the insurer can claim that the policy should never have been issued and thus they now owe no benefits. They’ll refund the premiums, but they will not pay out on the policy.

Importantly, in California, insurers can only rescind a life insurance policy within two years of issuance of the policy (the “contestability period”). If the covered party passes away more than two years after the policy was initiated or reinstated, then the insurer must pay out benefits, regardless of what was said in the initial application. Insurers may try to trick parties into restarting the two-year period by re-issuing a policy; be wary of anything that appears different from a mere continuation of a policy.

Call Gianelli & Morris After a Wrongful Claim Denial by American United Life Insurance

If someone you love has passed away and your life insurance claim has been denied by American United or another California life insurance company, contact the passionate and thorough Los Angeles insurance denial lawyers Gianelli & Morris for a no-cost evaluation of your claim at 213-489-1600.

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