Options for a Life Insurance Claim Payout

Web Admin - Thursday, June 28, 2018
Rolling Meadows life insurance claim lawyerA life insurance policy can provide a family with the reassurance that they will be able to maintain financial security if tragedy strikes and a family member dies. Life insurance benefits can account for the income that a deceased person would have provided for their family, as well as expenses such as the costs of medical care prior to a person’s death or burial and funeral expenses. When filing a claim, it is important to understand the options for receiving a payout of life insurance benefits.

Payout Options

After the death of a person covered by a life insurance policy, the beneficiaries of the policy should file a claim with the life insurance company, and they must provide a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate. If the claim is approved, the beneficiaries may receive a payout in one of several ways, including:

- Lump sum - The entire amount of the benefit may be paid at one time, allowing beneficiaries to use these funds to pay outstanding expenses or invest them as they choose.

- Annuity - A benefit may be paid to beneficiaries in installments, providing regular income for a certain number of years. This allows beneficiaries to not only receive the money they need on an annual basis, but they will also receive interest on funds that have not been paid out. However, while life insurance benefits are not taxable, interest earned on these benefits is considered taxable income.

- Payout checkbook - Some insurers will hold benefit funds for beneficiaries while allowing them to withdraw money as needed by writing checks. Funds held by an insurer may also generate interest until they are withdrawn.

- Life income - Some plans may allow beneficiaries to receive a fixed monthly income based on the amount of the benefit, their age, and their life expectancy. The beneficiary will receive a guaranteed amount for the rest of their life, regardless of whether they die before or after they reach the age to which they are expected to survive.

- Pre-death payments - While life insurance benefits are usually paid after a person’s death, in some cases, they may be available while a person is still alive to offset the costs of medical care for a terminal illness.

Contact a Des Plaines Life Insurance Attorney

After a person’s death, the prompt payout of life insurance benefits is essential, allowing a family to cover their costs and meet their ongoing needs. If a life insurance company has denied your claim or delayed the payout of your benefits, Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to help you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact our Palatine life insurance claims lawyers at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


What to Expect When Suing an Insurance Company

Web Admin - Thursday, September 11, 2014

insurance lawsuit, Palatine insurance lawyerPeople purchase insurance with the goal of protecting themselves in the event that something unfortunate happens. However, no matter how hard people try to understand their policies and the limitations on them, many people face situations where they feel that the insurance company should be compensating them, but the company refuses. When this happens, people have a variety of options.

First, they can enter into an internal appeals process. Most insurance companies have a function that allows other employees of the company to review refusals and determine if they were warranted. If that fails, then the Illinois Department of Insurance also investigates some insurance-related issues. Alternatively, people with issues that neither of those strategies can solve may need to sue their insurance company if they want to see the compensation that they have already paid for. It is important for people to understand the process of a lawsuit and the length of time that it may take. Insurance companies are expert litigators, and they may drag the process out.

Understanding a Lawsuit

The beginning part of the process for filing a lawsuit against your insurance company involves hiring a lawyer and filing a complaint against them. The complaint is a legal document that triggers a lawsuit, and lays out the general allegations against the insurance company. Once this happens, the insurance company is allowed to respond with a document called an answer. The answer takes each fact asserted by the complaint and either confirms or denies them, so that both parties understand what is in dispute. Once this happens your lawyer and the insurance company lawyers will engage in discovery.

Discovery is a legal process in which both sides ask the other side questions to better understand the facts. This is mainly done through requests for documents, written questions called interrogatories that the other side has to answer, and depositions, which are in-person interviews. The majority of lawsuits end at some point during this phase. As more information comes out, both sides begin to understand their chances of winning at trial, and they likely reach a settlement. In the event that there is no settlement, the case moves to trial where both sides' attorneys present their arguments to the judge, who eventually makes the final legal decision.

Your Part in the Process

Not every step in that process will require the client's involvement. Initial interviews will need to be done for the attorney to get a picture of the case, and there will also be periodic conferences as new facts appear or the case moves forward. The most intensive piece that the client will need to do is prepare for a deposition in case the insurance company wants to depose them. This may require working with the client's attorney to better understand the types of questions that they company may ask, so that the deposition goes smoothly.

If you are currently having an issue with an insurance company and would like to file a lawsuit against them, contact a dedicated Illinois insurance dispute attorney today. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we represent clients in many northwest suburban towns including Inverness, Palatine, and Schaumburg.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Insurance Agent Negligence: The Duty Agents Owe to Their Customers

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 04, 2014

illinois insurance agent negligence lawyerInsurance agents often act as a person’s main point of contact throughout the process of procuring an insurance policy. This means people are relying on insurance agents to do their job thoroughly, carefully, and professionally. To that end, the law imposes a duty of reasonable care on insurance agents to ensure that they perform their jobs accurately. 

The fact that agents have this duty means that if the agent harms a customer through their negligence, they may be liable to that customer in court for the damage that their insurance negligence caused. Generally speaking, these sorts of claims for negligent errors and omissions come in two forms: improperly filing or filling out insurance paperwork, and failure to properly counsel the client on the type of insurance they need.

Types of Insurance Agent Negligence

Insurance agent negligence often occurs in an agent’s clerical capacity. An agent must exercise reasonable care in the filling out of insurance paperwork to make sure that the insurance company provides coverage and that the policies are properly updated. An example of this sort of negligence in the realm of car insurance would occur if a person wanted to add someone to their insurance policy, and yet after informing the agent, the agent never properly filed the paperwork to add them to the policy. If the new person, who should be covered under the insurance, was in a car accident, the agent would be liable for the person’s lack of coverage.

Insurance agents also have a duty to exercise ordinary care when advising clients about the types of policy they need, along with possible limits and exemptions of the policy. This claim comes up often in the case of policy exclusions, which are special circumstances in the insurance policy for which the company refuses to pay. These exemptions can often be long and complex, which means that the insurance agent may be liable for negligently advising the customer if they do not make the exclusions clear. 

For an example of this, consider a person buying homeowner’s insurance who explicitly wants coverage for every item in their home in the case of a fire. If an agent provides them a policy that excludes jewelry or some other class of property, the insured might have a claim against the agent for negligent errors and omissions.

The Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are time limits that the law places on people looking to file lawsuits. In the case of insurance agent negligence, Illinois law limits people to two years to file the suit once the person has a cause of action. However, that time limit can be deceptively complicated since it does not say when a person has a cause of action. Generally, courts start the clock running once the insurer first takes a position that runs against the insured’s expectations. That can mean in some cases the insured needs to act quickly, since it is possible that their underlying insurance case will not even be finished before the statute of limitations related to the agent expires.

If you believe you have been the victim of insurance agent negligence, find an Illinois insurance attorney near you. They can help protect your rights in court and ensure that you recover fair compensation for the harm done by negligent insurance agents. Our firm represents people across the northwest suburban area, in towns like Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove and Barrington.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Unpaid Claims by Insurance Companies on the Rise

Web Admin - Saturday, November 09, 2013

In recent years, it has become more difficult for policyholders to get paid after submitting a claim to their insurance company. In fact, research done by the Los Angeles Times shows that the amount of money that insurance companies failed to pay on claims more than doubled in the past decade to $372 million.

This increase comes, in part, from insurance companies using aggressive tactics to avoid paying money to deserving people. These tactics include denying payment or cancelling coverage after people make claims, confusing customers until they give up trying to collect on their policies, and delaying payment on valid claims. For many consumers, the best option to protect their rights in the face of these insurance actions is to seek out an attorney experienced in handling unfair insurance claim denials.

Insurance Company Tactics        

One of the most common tricks that insurance companies use to avoid paying for valid claims involves denying their validity, or canceling coverage after the policyholder makes a claim. Insurers often do this by claiming that the policyholder failed to inform them of some piece of information, even if that information had no effect on the reason for filing the claim in the first place. Some companies dealing in health insurance go so far as to examine the medical records of claimants in an attempt to dig up some pre-existing conditions that they can use to cancel the coverage or deny the claim. There have even been cases of insurance companies revoking coverage based on conditions that the company never asked about, or that doctors never diagnosed.

Insurance companies also actively attempt to confuse customers about the extent of their coverage in order to escape paying on claims. The companies’ best tool for this is often their contract. Insurance companies write their contracts with an eye towards keeping them difficult to understand, that way they can fool customers into believing that their policy covers more than it actually does until they file a claim.

Another strategy insurers use involves simply delaying payment of the claim until they give up, or in some cases even pass away. Insurers have many tools to prolong the process of trying to collect on a claim. Some tricks amount to nothing more than a bureaucratic runaround, like sending the wrong paperwork for the policyholder to fill out, but others are more aggressive--like simply waiting to mail the payment until the beneficiary complains. Some insurers delay payments so severely that customers resorted to lawsuits just to get the money the company owed them.

Legal Help for Unpaid Insurance Claims in Illinois

If you have questions about an insurance dispute, contact an Illinois insurance attorney today. Call 847-934-6000 to speak with a member of our team. We work with residents in many communities on these issues, including Chicago, Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, and more.

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