Woman says Globe Life & Accident Insurance didn't pay accidental death benefits

By The West Virginia Record | Sep 14, 2017

BLUEFIELD – A woman is suing Globe Life & Accident Insurance Company after she claims it failed to pay out an accidental death policy.

On Dec. 12, 2005, Globe issued a life insurance police for Michael W. Vestal in the amount of $30,000, according to a complaint filed July 27 in McDowell Circuit Court and removed to federal court on Aug. 30.

Theresa Payne claims on April 12, 2010, an accidental death benefit rider in the amount of $50,000 was added to the insurance policy and she was made beneficiary of Vestal’s life insurance policy, including the two accidental death benefit riders.

On April 24, 2014, Vestal was found dead in a riverbed adjacent to Route 83 in McDowell County and, on April 15, 2015, Globe paid Fanning Funeral Homes approximately $6,827.18, according to the suit.

Payne claims the remaining part of the $30,000 life insurance policy was paid to her and, on July 6, 2015, Globe sent a letter declining to pay $100,000 for the two accidental death benefit riders, due to Vestal’s death certificate stating that his death was “undetermined,” it would not meet the definition of “accidental.”

The plaintiff asked Globe to reconsider, and on July 28, 2015, it sent her a second letter denying the claim, according to the suit.

Payne claims Globe acted inappropriately in denying the claim for accidental insurance when it is clear that Vestal did not anticipate his death by walking across and bridge and there is no clear finding that he died of natural causes.

The position that Glove Life has taken in denying payment of its accidental death benefit riders is contrary to the law and is subject to the laws and regulations of West Virginia as they relate to the regulation of the business of insurance, according to the suit.

Payne is seeking for the court to enter a declaratory judgment ordering Globe to immediately tender the $100,000 due under the accidental death benefit riders policy with interest. She is being represented by Shannon L. Baldwin of Burton Kilgore & Baldwin.

Globe is represented by Laura E. Hayes of Spilman Thomas & Battle.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 1:17-cv-03895

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Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Bluefield Division

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