CHARLESTON - The family of a former employee of Arch Coal has filed a lawsuit against the coal company and it's life insurance provider.

Alexis and Leslie Belcher filed a suit Feb. 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Arch Coal and Bankers National Life Insurance Company, claiming they did not receive all of their father's life insurance after he died.

James Belcher "owned a life insurance policy through Arch that names as his beneficiaries his wife, Nancy Cathryn Belcher (now Raymond), and his two daughters," the suit says.

He died on Aug. 28, 1996, at which time Nancy Belcher was sent a one-third share of the life insurance benefits. However, the company refused to release the other shares, the complaint states.

Nancy Belcher was informed the other shares would be released when her daughters turned 18 and would be held in an interest-bearing account until then.

In November 2001, Leslie Belcher turned 18 and another share was released. However, the Belchers say the benefits were substantially lower than what a "reasonable person would expect from benefits being held in an interest bearing account for five years."

In May 2005, Alexis turned 18. The share she received was $4,500 lower than the benefits received by Leslie, the complaint states.

"Nancy Belcher made several attempts to correct these errors in the amount of life insurance benefits eventually delivered to the plaintiffs by the defendants," the suit says. "However, there has been no effort to resolve the improper differences amount."

The Belcher's claim the insurance company breached their contract. They seek an accounting of the discrepancies in the life insurance benefits delivered to the plaintiffs, an order to pay the difference in the amount of the benefits, plus interest, punitive damages and court costs.

Anthony J. Majestro represents the Belchers, and the case has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-274

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