Life Insurance

News & Analysis as of

California Supreme Court Holds That Brandt Fees Awarded Post-Trial By A Court Must Be Included In Denominator Of...

On June 9, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Co., holding that so-called Brandt fees should be treated as compensatory damages when calculating the ratio of...more

When Tragedy Strikes: How Employers Can Assist Employees Affected by Mass Shootings and Disasters

In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, 49 innocent people lost their lives in a mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This mass shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history, has left the City of Orlando...more

Court Discusses Slayer Rule in Texas And Affirms Judgment For Bank That Froze Account

Preface to Case: The Texas Constitution states that “[n]o conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.” Tex. Const. Art. I § 21 (emphasis added). The Texas Estates Code also states as much. Tex. Est....more

Should life insurance be a part of your estate plan?

Today, the federal gift and estate tax exemption stands at $5.45 million, so fewer families are facing estate tax liability. This begs the question: Can life insurance continue to play an important role in estate planning?...more

Insight on Estate Planning -June/July 2016

Portability is a thoroughly modern estate tax break - Computers and phones aren’t the only things that are portable today. The gift and estate tax exemption is also “portable” for married couples. Portability simplifies...more

Wealth Management Update - June 2016

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

NAIC Report: 2016 Spring National Meeting

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) held its 2016 Spring National Meeting from April 1 through April 6 in New Orleans, Louisiana. As host, Louisiana provided beautiful weather and bountiful great food....more

ERISA: Reviewing What Needs to Be Proved to Establish the Suicide Exclusion

For many reasons, some of the toughest cases to litigate involve the application of the suicide exclusion. There is a growing body of evidence challenging suicide exclusion determinations....more

Vanishing premiums part deux?

Those of you with gray hair like me may recall the life insurance vanishing premium lawsuits from the mid-1990s. As a refresher, that flood of lawsuits arose from life insurance policies sold in the 80s (mainly whole or...more

Unclaimed Property Primer for Health and Property & Casualty Insurance

Background - Unclaimed Property: It’s not just about life insurance. The same contingency-fee unclaimed property auditors that targeted unclaimed life insurance proceeds are now turning their focus to other types of...more

IRS Notice Offers Relief to Issuers of Variable Insurance Products in Response to Pending Money Market Fund Reforms

On May 5, 2016, the IRS issued Notice 2016-32, 2016-21 I.R.B. 1, which affords relief with respect to the application of the diversification requirements of IRC § 817(h) to variable life insurance and annuity contracts...more

New and Disruptive Technologies: The Care and Feeding of the New Economy [Expect Focus – Vol. I, Winter 2016]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT - The CFPB Takes First Enforcement Action Related to Data Security Practices. LIFE INSURANCE - Class Certified in Unique Fixed Indexed Annuity Case. Alleged Misrepresentations to DFS Warrant...more

Life Insurance and Estate Planning

Life insurance can play an important role in estate planning. It is important to understand the uses and purposes of life insurance and the tax consequences of owning a policy and receiving a death benefit....more

Basic-Supplemental Life Insurance Plan Pricing Structure Upheld in ERISA Class Action

An employee benefit plan that includes an alleged subsidization component for its basic and supplemental options is neither prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) nor a violation of the plan...more

Split to Be Tied!

Looking Beyond the Morrissette Decision and Around the Corner for Inter-Generational Split Dollar - Overview - I have had the opportunity throughout my career to know top life insurance agents as well as several top...more

Only the Lonely: “Lonely” Life Insurance Companies Confront New Issues Under Proposed Debt-Equity Regulations

The rules of IRC § 1504 and Treas. Reg. § 1.1502-47 provide the general parameters for determining whether a domestic life insurance company (within the meaning of IRC § 816(a)) may join in filing a consolidated U.S. federal...more

Two Federal Courts Uphold Criminal Convictions for Insurance Brokers

Two federal appellate decisions highlight the potential criminal liability for rogue agents. First, in United States v. Binday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld mail and wire fraud convictions of three individuals...more

Alleged Misrepresentations to DFS Warrant SLUSA Preclusion

The Southern District of New York recently granted defendant’s motion to dismiss a putative class action claiming that AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company breached its contractual obligation by implementing a volatility...more

Class Certified in Unique Fixed Indexed Annuity Case

The creative theories of liability and damages on display in the recent certification of multiple classes suggest that the long run of annuity class actions is not over yet. Plaintiff in Abbit v. ING USA Annuity and Life...more

Estate of Clara M. Morrissette Secures Victory in Groundbreaking Estate Tax Case

In a case of first impression, the United States Tax Court ruled in favor of a taxpayer whose estate planning focused on the preservation and succession of a 70-year-old family-owned business. In Estate of Clara M....more

Technological and Information Concerns Highlight NAIC Spring 2016 National Meeting

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Spring 2016 National Meeting, which was held from April 3 – 6 in New Orleans, offered insight into numerous issues being considered by state commissioners nationwide....more

Florida Court Says it’s Not Fraud When Misrepresentations are Made During Settlement Negotiations

When settling a case, litigators are naturally focused on avoiding “Round 2” of the litigation for their clients. Toward this goal, lawyers avoid drafting settlement agreements that include any sort of representations or...more

Florida Imposes Additional Unclaimed Property Requirements on Life Insurers

On April 12, Florida Governor Scott signed Senate Bill 0966 into law. SB 0966 amends the insurance benefits provisions of Florida’s Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, Fl. Stat. Section 717.107. These amendments effectively...more

Office Of Financial Research Issues Brief Analyzing Disclosures By Insurers Of 2014 Data Related To Captive Transactions

On March 17, 2016, the Office of Financial Research, an agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to analyze risk to the financial system, released a brief discussing “recent policy measures” by the NAIC “and the data that...more

The Judicial Rescission of MetLife’s SIFI Designation and the Possible Implications of the SIFI Process for Reinsurers

The designation of MetLife as a systemically significant nonbank financial institution (SIFI) by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) was recently rescinded by the United States District Court for the District of...more

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