April 24, 2009

Woman sues to force insurance to pay

A Tennessee woman whose husband was shot and killed is suing his life insurance provider because it refused the claim due to a pre-existing condition.

Stephanie McCraw's lawsuit against Settlers Life Insurance states her husband, Curtis McCraw, was killed by unknown gunmen in Knoxville, Tenn., in April 2007 but the insurance company denied the claim because her husband suffered from a pre-existing condition, Hepatitis C, which was unrelated to his death, ABC News reported Friday.

Mrs. McCraw lost her husband and wants this life insurance company to pay what is owed her. The policy is not specific as to whether there is a difference as to how you die. It does not even say you won't get paid if you have a pre-existing condition, attorney William Hotz said.

McCraw is suing for the worth of the policy, about $25,000, plus damages.

Michael Lowe, president of Settlers Life, said failing to report a pre-existing condition can invalidate a policy.

The law in Tennessee is clear that the cause of death is not relevant, Lowe said. What is relevant is whether the insured truthfully informed the company of his health at time of his death. If an applicant lied, the company has a right to deny the claim.