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Coercion and Life Insurance

Discussion in 'Life Insurance, Annuities & Other' started by Arcanon10, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. Arcanon10

    Arcanon10 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello all.

    This may not be the right sub-forum for this question, so I apologize in advance.

    A friend of mine recently discovered that her husband has a $500,000 life insurance policy on her that she never knew about. The reason she never knew is because this man has been extremely abusive in the past and had forced her to sign papers without allowing her to know what she was signing. Any attempt on her part to know what she was signing was met with physical abuse.

    The only reason she now knows about this policy is because during the process of domestic violence counselling that he has been ordered to undergo, he was required to divulge any and all insurance policies, from what I have been told.

    My question comes down essentially to this. Did this man break any laws or commit insurance fraud by coercing his wife to put her signature on a life insurance policy that she was never aware was being taken out on her?

    By the way, he has confessed to his domestic violence counsellers and the officers assigned to his case that he did indeed force her to sign the policy without telling her what it was.

    Thank you all in advance for your time reading this. Cheers
     
  2. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    You most likely will need to get a lawyer involved here. It will have to be proven that she was coerced into signing for the coverage. However; if she happens to be the owner of the policy, she can cancel the policy, change the beneficiary & make other changes on the policy. If he is the owner (signed as owner), then there is more of a problem.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Having a life insurance policy on anyone in which you have an insurable interest isn't a crime. A few examples: parents on their children, one business partner on the other partner, one spouse on the other spouse.

    A disclosure need not be made, nor is the signature of the subject of the policy required.

    Ultimately the circumstances surrounding the death of the insured will determine if the policy is paid out.
     
  4. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    I worked for a life ins. co. (was a life ins. underwriter) An adult cannot take a policy out on another adult without the insured's signature. (even a spouse) An insured adult always has to sign the application. They have to agree to the ins. & attest that all questions on the application are answered correctly. The bene must have an insurable ins. in the life of the insured. In this case, he could be bene since a spouse always has an insurable interest. However, she must still have signed the application which she apparently did but the problem is she was coerced. We would not have issued this pol. w/o her signature - that is why he coerced her into signing.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Many spouses sign very often for the other spouse.
    The signature wouldn't necessarily be a problem.
    If it was forged, that could be proven.

    There are many more affirmative acts required before any reputable life insurance company will issue a valid policy.

    Plus, some policies won't pay a dime until a certain period of time has elapsed.

    If fraud (or criminality) is shown, those same insurers won't pay out, either.

    Life insurance policies, absent health histories and medical exams, are often limited to $25,000.

    So, does the spouse who's representative posted the question(s) know if the woman submitted to providing her health history?
    Did she submit to a medical exam?
    Did she sign the life insurance application?
    If she did, its very hard to prove coercion (which means duress, or undue influence in a legal sense) if her signature appears on any (or all) life insurance policy documents.

    Whatever the creep may have revealed to his domestic violence counselors shouldn't be public knowledge.

    I suspect that anything he has mumbled in "session" is protected speech.

    I find it surprising that someone knows what he was alleged to have said during "counseling".
     
  6. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    If one adult forges another adult's signature, that is fraud. In this case, she apparently signed - now they have to prove she was coerced. It seems per the OP's post that he admitted to forcing her to sign - everyone will just have to go from there.

    I stand by my statement that an adult insured must sign the application for ins. (I'm not saying that sometimes they may not be coerced into signing or that someone might not have forged their signature.) We have a problem then.
     
  7. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Though I hate to say it but sometimes spouses kill spouses, business partners kill business partners..... We liked to catch any fraud up front while underwriting & not wait until someone was killed (dies) & time for the policy to be payable to find any misrepresentation/fraud.
     
  8. Arcanon10

    Arcanon10 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hey all :)

    Your responses are very appreciated.

    With regards to why I referenced the husband's admission, I thought that would be relevant with regards to proving that he had indeed forced her to do it. This admission was not only within his counseling sessions, but also to a local police department during questioning as well as openly in front of my friend. How protected or legitimate these admissions are in a legal sense, I do not know. I nonetheless thought it worth mentioning.

    And yes, with regards to medical records .... she does remember that a few weeks before she signed those documents, he also demanded she retrieve and give him hard copies of her medical records. Both individuals are not American citizens and she needed to authorize the transfer of her medical records over to here, from what I understand.

    Again, her refusal to cooperate in any way was met with severe abuse. So at that time, she complied and did not ask questions.

    This brings me back to my initial question which is whether or not it is illegal for one person to force another to knowingly or unknowingly sign insurance policies.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    What you describe could be considered criminal.
    In my many years, I can't recall seeing such a charge.
    That doesn't mean it hasn't happened, it simply means I haven't seen it.
    If anyone believes she or he has been the victim of any crime, report the matter to the police.
    If the police show interest, or invite other authorities to become involved, that's where it starts.
    Something is only illegal, insofar as a particular event is concerned, after the matter has been adjudicated so before a court of law.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  10. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    She is going to need help here - from probably a lawyer, ins. co. & maybe the police.
     

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