Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Insurance Civil Procedure

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ERISA Fiduciary Obligations: More on Application to Life Insurance Coverage

This article examines the case of Biller v. Prudential Insurance, in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied a motion to dismiss a claim brought against an employer by the beneficiaries of a...more

Florida DFS Unclaimed Property Grab “Clearly Erroneous”

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal filed an opinion yesterday in Thrivent Financial for Lutheran’s appeal from a declaratory statement issued by the Florida Department of Financial Services interpreting Florida’s...more

Third Circuit Reaffirms the Difficulty of Binding a Non-Signatory to Arbitration

Federal law’s much-talked-about presumption in favor of enforcing arbitration clauses has its limits. On August 11, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit identified one of those limitations: the...more

Florida Court Rejects "Date of Death" Trigger for Escheating Life Insurance Death Benefits Under Florida's Unclaimed Property Act

On August 5, Florida's First District Court of Appeal reversed a ruling issued by Florida's Department of Financial Services ("DFS") that would have triggered an insurer's duty to escheat life insurance benefits under...more

Unclaimed Property: Court Holds Life Insurer’s Escheatment Duties Not Triggered By Insured’s Death

In an opinion filed August 5, 2014, the Florida First District Court of Appeal held that under Florida’s unclaimed property law, life insurance proceeds are not “due and payable,” and the dormancy period does not begin to...more

Florida Court of Appeal Holds Insured’s Death Alone Does Not Trigger Unclaimed Property Law Obligations

In an opinion filed August 5, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal held that Florida’s unclaimed property law does not make life insurance proceeds due and payable at the time of the insured’s death and does not impose an...more

Fourth Circuit Rejects Widow’s Claim for Equitable Relief

The Fourth Circuit recently rejected fiduciary breach and equitable estoppel claims for life insurance coverage by Leslie Moon, the widow of a deceased employee, who claimed that the employer’s actions resulted in Mr. Moon’s...more

How to Fight a STOLI Scheme: Court Rulings Offer Clues

Two recent court decisions provide potential road maps for insurers in the fight against Stranger-Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) schemes. Ohio Nat’l Life Assurance Corp. v. Davis involved a STOLI scheme so obvious that...more

Life Insurance Unclaimed Property Litigation in 2014: Will Regulator Positions Withstand Judicial Scrutiny

Amidst ongoing multistate unclaimed property audits of many life insurers, and despite many regulatory settlements, the insurance industry and state regulators continue to disagree over the application of unclaimed property...more

Eighth Circuit Decisions Reminds Employers Of Importance Of Granting ERISA Plan Administrators Discretion To Interpret Plan Terms

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released an opinion which highlights the importance of ensuring ERISA plan documents grant plan administrators the discretion to construe and interpret the...more

ERISA 8th Circuit: Deciding Who Is The Beneficiary — The Abuse Of Discretion Standard Trumps The Substantial Compliance Doctrine

Sometimes determining the correct beneficiary for ERISA-governed life insurance benefits can present real challenges. Can the deceased’s will prove the deceased’s intent designating the correct beneficiary? It...more

Eighth Circuit: ERISA Plan Beneficiary Designation Trumps Will

The Eighth Circuit held that the named beneficiary of an ERISA governed life insurance policy was entitled to the proceeds even though the decedent’s will named a different beneficiary. Hall v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 2014 U.S....more

Tennessee Insurance Legal News - January 2014 • Volume 3, Number 1

In This Issue: - ARBITRATION PROVISION WITHIN TENNESSEE’S UNINSURED MOTORIST STATUTE HELD NOT APPLICABLE TO INSURANCE POLICIES ISSUED AND DELIVERED OUTSIDE TENNESSEE: The Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed the...more

Wealth Management Update - January 2014

January Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The January § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs...more

Recent Court Decisions Concerning Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Can Assist Insurers in Defending Regulatory Audits and Future...

Perhaps the most significant litigation, regulatory and compliance issues facing life insurance companies can be found in the unclaimed property audits, multi-state regulatory settlements and class action lawsuits surrounding...more

Life Insurance Company that Filed Interpleader Action to Determine How to Proceed With Benefits Resulting From a Homicide is...

In Farmers New World Life Insurance Company v. Rees (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, Cal.App. 2 Dist., August 30, 2013), a California court of appeal considered whether a life insurance company that delayed paying benefits to the...more

The Impact of Death of Defendant Prior to Filing Claim for Injuries

This week's discussion looks at the potential timing limitations that can impact a claim filed against a defendant who has deceased. The discussion is done in the confines of Indiana's Probate Code and the recent Indiana...more

State Law Will Not Help Out In All Divorce Situations

Many states, including Florida, automatically terminate former spouses as beneficiaries under life insurance policies, annuities, and other beneficiary-designated accounts upon divorce....more

Is Honesty Always the Best Policy? Illinois Appellate Court Holds Attorney’s Ethical Obligations Trump Professional Liability...

In a case of first impression, the Illinois Appellate Court considered whether a professional liability insurer can deny a defense to its insured, an attorney who admits he erred in providing legal services. Ill. State Bar...more

Michigan Appellate Court Affirms Validity of Electronic Signature Under UETA

Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a defendant insurance company seeking to dispose of a challenge to an electronic signature executed by a policyholder. Zulkiewski v. Am. Gen. Life...more

Delaware Federal Court Issues Important Post-Price Dawe Opinion

In a memorandum opinion issued in Principal Life Insurance Company v. Lawrence Rucker 2007 Insurance Trust on June 26, 2012, a federal district court applied the Delaware Supreme Court’s holding in PHL Variable Life Insurance...more

Illinois Supreme Court Sets Civil Argument Schedule for May

Yesterday the Illinois Supreme Court published its Oral Argument Calendar [pdf] for the May term, and the Court will hear oral argument in eight civil cases. The cases, with the issue or issues presented in each, are... ...more

U.S. District Court Grants Summary Judgment in a Ruling That Reinforces California Law in Favor of Life Settlements

On February 6, 2012, in Hartford Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Doris Barnes Family 2008 Irrevocable Trust, et al., the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment on behalf of the...more

Don't Sign It Until You've Read It: Signature of Subscription Documents Binds Insured to Undesirable Policy Terms

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit In National Production Workers Union Ins. Trust v. Cigna Corp., ___ F.3d ___, 2011 WL 6880650 (7th Cir. (Ill.) Dec. 30, 2011), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the...more

Recent Developments in the Life Settlement Industry

Recently, the Supreme Court of Delaware issued two rulings regarding life settlements that have attracted media and life settlement industry attention. The Delaware high court ruled in both cases that under Delaware state...more

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