When You Need to Call a Life Insurance Claim Lawyer


The loss of a loved one is never easy.  Aside from the natural process of grief, dealing with the paperwork and procedures that must be processed after a death can be time consuming and onerous. While administering an estate can be fairly straightforward, there are times when it’s best to have professional help. When dealing with a complicated or disputed life insurance claim, a life insurance claim lawyer who has experience dealing with insurance companies should be involved.


Making a Life Insurance Claim


Before making a claim, gather all the necessary paperwork. You will need the original life insurance policy. Make note of the policy number and make a complete copy of the policy in case you are required to submit the original. There may be more than one life insurance policy as the deceased may also have group coverage through his or her work, union or other association. When dealing with an individual policy contact the insurance agent or broker to obtain the correct claim forms. For a group policy offered through a place of business it may be easier to contact Human Resources.


Along with the completed claim forms, the insurance company will require a certified copy of the death certificate that includes the medical cause of death. The certificate of death should be available from the funeral home who conducted final services for the deceased. The certificate is also available on-line through Service Ontario. There will be a fee for each copy obtained but no limit to how many can be ordered.


When to Involve a Lawyer


In some situations, processing the claim will be uncomplicated and paid promptly. However, there are other times when a claim is disputed by an insurance company and it would be financially beneficial to have a lawyer working on your behalf. If the policy has been in effect for less than five years, the process generally will take longer. If the policy has been in effect less than two years, it’s likely the insurance company will probe into the circumstances surrounding the death and this could delay the claim. Insurance policies can also be disputed when:


  • premiums were not paid on time
  • the policy has lapsed
  • the claim for payment is not made in a timely fashion
  • suspicious circumstances surround the death


Claims can also be denied if the insurance company doesn’t believe the client was fully honest when completing the original application form. According to the Toronto Star, in 2007 Karen Cheetham was refused her claim for her husband’s life insurance because his original application contained inaccurate information about his health, even though he died from a cause that was unrelated to any of the incorrectly answered health questions. Complicated or contentious claims should always be handled by a lawyer.


When looking for a life insurance claim lawyer, look to a firm that has experience in personal injury law. These lawyers have considerable experience dealing with insurance companies and understand the system. For more information about disputes over insurance, consult the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.