If you work in Chicago, or anywhere in Illinois, and your employer promises you life insurance, you care about ensuring your family is taken care of should anything happen to you. How do you get the security of knowing your loved ones will be provided for with this life insurance if your employer does not formally execute the policy like it said it would? This is not a frequent occurrence, but as an ERISA life insurance and accidental death insurance attorney, I constantly see things that don’t happen too often. A recent case highlighted what happened in such a scenario.
In Woerner v. FRAM Group Operations, LLC, No. 12-6648, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164226 (D.N.J. Oct. 4, 2017), Woerner’s late husband worked for FRAM, which created an employee benefit plan to provide life insurance benefits to its employees. After Woerner’s husband passed away, FRAM would not pay the claim, so Woerner sued under ERISA § 502(a) to recover the benefits. FRAM then filed a third party complaint against Cigna, seeking to recover from Cigna any life insurance benefits it would have to pay to Woerner. But all the policy documents were executed after Woerner’s husband died, so Cigna was able to get the claim against it dismissed. That left the employer responsible for paying the life insurance promise, even though it had not bought an insurance policy to cover the liability yet. Had Woerner directly sued Cigna, she likely would have lost for the same reason that the employer had its third party complaint dismissed. Cigna simply had not insured the plan yet when Woerner’s husband died.
If your claim for life insurance benefits has been denied, you have only 60 days to appeal that decision before you forever forfeit your rights to the benefits. Waste no time; call a skilled ERISA life insurance lawyer today.