Kelley Drye provides our life and health insurance and annuity clients creative and business-minded solutions to disputes, and when necessary, aggressive representation through all phases of litigation from pre-litigation through trial and appeal. Our more than 20 years of substantive courtroom, NASD and FINRA experience ranges from the most simple policy lapse cases to complex multi-defendant class actions. As national counsel for our clients in cases pending across the country, we are able to leverage our extensive insurance law experience to reach the best and most efficient outcomes for our clients.
Our experience is not limited to litigation
Kelley Drye delivers strategic advice to our insurance clients on emerging insurance law and regulatory developments related to life and health insurance and annuity industry issues, to assist them in identifying and managing risk and decreasing their litigation exposure. Kelley Drye understands that our clients must maintain good relationships with state insurance regulators, and we are sensitive to the client’s reputation in the marketplace. Our team efficiently and discreetly manages our clients’ responses to inquiries and investigations by state regulators and law enforcement agencies. We also advocate for the insurance industry on secondary market issues. For example, our amicus brief on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers assisted the Delaware Supreme Court in upholding fundamental insurable interest principles.
We have successfully assisted our clients and obtained resolution of matters involving:
- Life insurance products procured for the benefit of strangers though STOLI, IOLI, or ChOLI fraud, and other policies that lack insurable interest or are otherwise against public policy
- Various advanced markets issues such as life insurance policies used in conjunction with Internal Revenue Code Sections 79, 412(i) and 419(e) Plans
- Secondary market disputes involving original policy owners and beneficiaries, life settlement providers, secondary market purchasers, or policy administrators
- Company-owned or Keyman insurance
- Funeral insurance and funeral insurance trust litigation
- Policy rescission actions based on material health and financial misrepresentations or fraud
- Contested policy lapses and death benefit claims
- Claims asserted under consumer protection regulations and statutes
- State and federal securities laws claims
- Vanishing premium litigation
- Brokerage or General Agent sales practice, compensation, and placement disputes
- Interpleader actions
- Insolvency proceedings and preference actions
- ERISA litigation addressing employee benefit plans and life insurance
- RICO litigation concerning trustee malfeasance of life insurance proceeds
Advice and Counseling
Kelley Drye understands that our insurance clients must comply with many operational and regulatory changes that are being implemented by state governments. Our team provides strategic advice to our insurance clients about the wide range and expansive state law and regulatory issues impacting insurers in today’s marketplace, including:
- Compliance with state law policy notice and grace period timing requirements
- Compliance with state law timing of paying death benefits
- Insurable interest issues
- Policy notice content and formatting
- Analysis of state insurance laws and regulations with emphasis on business implications for insurers
- STOLI/IOLI/ChOLI risk assessment and recent case law analysis
- Policy prospectuses
- Risk disclosure forms for various advanced markets products
- Registered representative and general agent liability issues
We have obtained final judgments in a number of matters on behalf of our clients, including:
- A final judgment on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers declaring that a bulletin promulgated by the Illinois Department of Insurance requiring insurance companies performing services regarding Illinois insureds to keep all of their books, records, documents and any or all papers relating to business, performance, operations and affairs of the company within the state of Illinois was, as a matter of general policy, invalid and unenforceable.
- Declaratory judgment on behalf of insurer finding that a life insurance policy should be rescinded based on the insured’s and owner’s material misrepresentations concerning the insured’s health; see John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York v. Shavy Hirsch, 2009 NY Slip Op 51450(U) (Westchester Co., Sup. Ct. July 8, 2009) aff’d 77 A.D.3d 710 (2d Dep’t 2010).
- Summary judgment on behalf of an insurer finding that a policy holder’s tender of a check returned for insufficient funds is not a payment and the policy, therefore, lapsed and the insurer was not required to send any further notices to the policy holder.
- Summary judgment on behalf of an insurer finding that, based on the terms of a life insurance policy, if the insured dies while the policy is in default, the insurer was allowed to deduct the amount of premiums owed to bring the policy out of default, from the death benefit, see John Hancock Life Insurance Co. v. Katzman, et al., 2015 WL 3767296, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78892 (S.D.N.Y. June 17, 2015).
- Summary judgment for an insurer dismissing a claim for damages based on the policy holder’s purchase of a life insurance product that was purchased as part of a plan under Internal Revenue Code Section 419(e), based in part, that the insurer had no duty to the policy holder and the policy holder was unable to articulate any cognizable injury, see Nassar v. Madera et al., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94219 (S.D.N.Y. July 19, 2016).