Women sue Monumental Life for allegedly terminating policy

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 14, 2013

CHARLESTON – Two women are suing Monumental Life Insurance Company for allegedly wrongfully terminating a life insurance policy.

Trans-America Agency Network, Brian E. Knechtly and Jessica McBride were also named as defendants in the suit.

On June 26, 1986, Roger Lee Seabolt purchased a universal life insurance policy through Peoples Security Insurance and on Aug. 10, 1998, the universal insurance policy was transferred to Monumental, according to a complaint filed Jan. 31 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Shirley Ann Burgess and Cynthia Jeannette Ray claim each month, the defendants automatically deducted his premiums from his checking account.

In 2011, Seabolt was diagnosed with terminal cancer and in October or November 2011, Seabolt received a letter from Monumental stating that the policy’s cash value had been exhausted and he would have to increase his regular payments to keep the policy in effect, according to the suit.

Burgess and Ray claim Seabolt met with Knechtly and McBride on Nov. 9, 2011, to discuss the policy and was advised that if he wanted to continue to insurance benefit without a cash balance, his monthly payment would increase to $190.13 per month.

Seabolt agreed to keep the policy in effect and gave them a check in the amount of $190.13 and signed a form titled “Monumatic” to allow Monumental to continue receiving the monthly payment of the premium from his checking account and gave the form to Knechtly and McBride, according to the suit.

Burgess and Ray claim Knechtly and McBride assured Seabolt that the form would take care of his concerns and that the policy would not terminate for his failing to make premium payments.

Seabolt’s health began to deteriorate rapidly in January 2012 and he was mentally incompetent at that time and continued to be mentally incompetent until his death on June 7, according to the suit.

Burgess and Ray claim after his death, it was discovered that the insurance policy had been terminated effective Feb. 2, 2012.

At all times between Nov. 9, 2011, and Seabolt’s death on June 7, there were sufficient funds in Seabolt’s checking account to pay all premiums due, according to the suit.

Burgess and Ray claim the defendants violated the West Virginia Unfair Trade Practices Act and were negligent.

The defendants’ conduct was intentional, willful, wanton and with reckless disregard for Seabolt’s rights, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Michael J. Del Giudice.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-213

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