Life Insurance Claims in Oregon
The Oregon Department of Insurance and Finance (ODI & F) regulates the business of insurance in Oregon. If you are a beneficiary of a life insurance policy and have been denied benefits, perhaps you have come to realize that there is little ODI & F can or will do to help you resolve your contested life insurance claim. Portland lawyer and former insurance veteran Richard Rizk can help because of his extensive experience interpreting and enforcing insurance contracts and resolving insurance claims under federal law, ERISA.
A life insurance is promise by the insurance company to the person buying the policy, for the benefit of a third party. That third party is called the beneficiary. Contract interpretation considering contract terms as applied to Oregon law will determine who receives life insurance proceeds. If your insurance policy was provided by an employer, a complex federal law known as ERISA will probably apply.
In a perfect world, the owner of the life insurance policy lists a beneficiary. Then the insurance company pays the beneficiary upon death of the insured. But, the world is not perfect. Mistakes and oversights happen.
Sometimes a life insurer, citing policy language will deny payment to a beneficiary. For example, suicide and drug use are common bases for denial of payment to a life insurance beneficiary. Sometimes such a denial is justified. In other instances, a life insurers may characterize an accidental death as an intentional death, simply to avoid a large beneficiary pay out. Overcoming such a denial requires legal assistance and a deeper investigation into the true cause and circumstances of death.
In other instances, a policy holder simply forgets to update life insurance beneficiary designation after a divorce or other life change. With help from the right attorney it is possible to overcome written beneficiary declaration in a life insurance policy where evidence of intent to change a life insurance beneficiary exists.
In addition, beneficiary designations may be challenged if the insured lacked the mental capacity to assign a beneficiary or was unduly influenced to do so. Contesting a life insurance policy beneficiary designation is akin to a will contest with at least one significant exception: generally speaking, more capacity is required to make a life insurance beneficiary designation than capacity in the will context situation.
A consultation with Richard Rizk is free and confidential as attorney client privilege protects your confidences to an Oregon attorney even if the attorney is not hired. Take action to protect yourself and your family. Calling Richard Rizk or emailing Richard Rizk about your life insurance matter is the first step.