Opportunistic Rescission: When Do Insurers Waive their Right to Rescind an Insurance Policy?

Posted in: Accidental Death or Dismemberment, Agent/Broker, Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance News, Health Insurance, Insurance Litigation Blog, Life Insurance, News, Waiver & Estoppel July 12, 2018

All too often, we see insurance companies deny insurance claims by attempting to opportunistically rescind insurance policies. This practice has become more prevalent in recent years as insurers look for ways to deny insurance claims.

Anyone who has purchased a disability, life or health insurance policy is likely familiar with the significant paperwork involved in the insurance application process. The paperwork includes policy notices, policy applications, supplemental policy applications, personal history questionnaires, policy warnings, medical examination documents, etc. These will include numerous and detailed questions relevant (and often not so relevant) to the risk being insured. An insurance agent or broker will ask questions on the policy application and often additional questions not on the application. Only after the applicant …

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Los Angeles Daily Journal Publishes Small Firm Profile on the McKennon Law Group PC Entitled “Shifting Allegiance: No Longer Insurers’ Advocates, McKennon Law Group Attorneys Stand Up for Policyholders”

Posted in: Bad Faith, Breach of Contract, Disability Insurance, ERISA, Health Insurance, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog, Legal Articles, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, News, Retirement Plans May 10, 2018

In the May 7, 2018 issue of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Daily Journal Staff Writer Melanie Brisbon authored a “small firm profile” article on the McKennon Law Group PC.  The article covers the firm’s path to success, starting with its unconventional background: several of the firm’s attorneys left established careers defending insurance companies before “shifting allegiance” to represent insureds, policyholders and claimants.  The firm started with three lawyers, including founding partner Robert J. McKennon and senior associate Scott E. Calvert.  Now, the firm consists of five attorneys and has a thriving practice in insurance litigation representing policyholders, especially involving life, health and disability insurance cases governed by insurance bad faith or ERISA.  The text portion of the profile is …

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Agents, Brokers and Rescission of Insurance Policies

Posted in: Accidental Death or Dismemberment, Agent/Broker, Disability Insurance News, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance April 09, 2018

Generally, an insurer need not investigate statements made in an application for insurance, subject to certain exceptions. Instead, the potential policyholder or applicant must fully disclose all known material information. If a potential insured does not correctly disclose information on an application (even innocently), the insurer may later try to rescind the insurance policy. When an insurer “rescinds” a policy, it renders the contract as if it never existed and frees both parties from their obligations under the contract. Practically, this means that the insurance company is no longer obligated to pay the claims for life insurance, accident insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance or long-term disability insurance benefits and the policyholder no longer has to pay the policy’s premiums. …

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Top 8 Tips for When You Take Your Insurer to Court

Posted in: Accidental Death or Dismemberment, Breach of Contract, Insurance Bad Faith, Life Insurance, Non-ERISA November 29, 2017

If you have a claim that has been wrongfully denied or are currently in the claims handling process, it is important to always keep in mind the potential impact of your conduct on future litigation. When dealing with a sophisticated insurance company, you want to put your best claim forward and be prepared for the potential need to file a lawsuit. In this article, we discuss our top eight tips for when you take your insurer to court, from the importance of hiring an attorney with relevant experience to preparing for the long haul that is litigation against an insurance company.

1. Hire an attorney with experience in insurance litigation who actually goes to trial.
This may seem like a …

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Court Reinstates Disability Benefits Because Insurer's Vocational Expert Ignored Treating Physicians' Opinions

Posted in: Disability Insurance, Employee Benefits News, ERISA, Life Insurance November 23, 2017

When an insured becomes disabled and incapable of performing the duties of his or her occupation, long-term disability benefits can provide a much-needed form of substitute income. Given the potential importance of these disability insurance benefits, playing an active role in the claims handling process is integral to the success or failure of an insured’s claim. In marshaling medical evidence in support of a long-term disability, insureds often rely on the opinions of their treating physicians and rightfully so, as the support of a treating physician can make or break a claim. However, the support of treating physicians does not equate to automatic approval of benefits. Typically, an insurer will hire its own medical or vocational expert to evaluate a …

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Robert McKennon and Stephanie Talavera Publish Article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal: "Ruling Clears Up Attorney Fees in ERISA Cases"

Posted in: Disability Insurance, Employee Benefits News, ERISA, Life Insurance, News, News Blog November 10, 2017

Unlike a state law claim for benefits under an individual insurance policy, an ERISA claim generally limits recovery to benefits due under the plan: prejudgment interest, declaratory or equitable (non-monetary) relief and attorneys’ fees. Accordingly, looming attorneys’ fees serve as an important financial disincentive for an ERISA plan administrator’s misconduct. In today’s edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Robert J. McKennon and Stephanie L. Talavera of the McKennon Law Group PC discuss the importance of ERISA attorneys’ fees and how a recent case positively impacts the ability to recover those fees. In a column entitled “Ruling Clears Up Attorney Fees in ERISA Cases,” we evaluate the effect of the new Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Micha v. Sun

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The Hartford Agrees to Purchase Aetna's Group Disability Insurance and Group Life Insurance Business

Posted in: Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance News, ERISA, Group Plans, Life Insurance, News Blog November 08, 2017

In a deal between two of the country’s largest disability insurers, The Hartford agreed to purchase Aetna Life Insurance Company’s group life insurance and disability insurance business for $1.45 billion. After the purchase, which is expected to close before the end of 2017, The Hartford will be the second largest group life and disability insurer, with 20 million customers insured by the combined business. A vast majority of these customers’ claims will be governed by ERISA.

According to media reports, The Hartford’s purchase of Aetna’s group life and disability insurance was designed to strengthen the company’s business among mid-sized companies, and take advantage of Aetna’s superior technology infrastructure. Aetna, in turn, will focus on its race with rival health insurance …

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Attorney Robert J. McKennon Educates Policyholders on ERISA and Disability Insurance Claims

Posted in: Disability Insurance News, Employee Benefits News, ERISA, Life Insurance October 27, 2017

When a disability insurance claim is denied, the process of challenging that wrongful denial can be daunting. At McKennon Law Group PC, we represent policyholders in their insurance disputes and help guide our clients through the complex insurance claims process. We pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our clients and work hard to ensure that our clients understand the status of their matter every step of the way.

As part of our firm’s dedication to serving insureds, Robert J. McKennon, the firm’s founder, answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding disability insurance benefits and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. In the Q&A, Mr. McKennon briefly explains the role of ERISA, the body of …

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California Court Affirms Decision Finding Bad Faith Where Insurer Interprets Policy Against Insured's Interests

Posted in: Attorneys Fees, Attorneys' Fees, Bad Faith, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog, Life Insurance, Punitive Damages October 11, 2017

On August 31, 2017, the California Court of Appeal discussed a variety of topics touching upon important matters in insurance “bad faith” litigation in Pulte Home Corp. v. Am. Safety Indemnity Co., 14 Cal.App.5th 1086 (Aug. 31, 2017). In this blog, we discuss the case in detail as well as the potential benefits the opinion provides to insureds’ future claims for bad faith. Before we discuss the details of the case, we first address the basics of insurance bad faith. Next, we detail the issues addressed in the case, the facts of the case, the court’s reasoning and ultimate rationale. Finally, we address the Pulte’s broader impact, solidifying the insurer’s good faith duty to interpret ambiguous policy provisions in …

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Robert McKennon and Stephanie Talavera Publish Article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal: "An Agent of the Insurer."

Posted in: Disability Insurance, Employee Benefits News, ERISA, Life Insurance October 11, 2017

In the October 9, 2017 Los Angeles Daily Journal, Robert J. McKennon and Stephanie L. Talavera of the McKennon Law Group PC published a column entitled “An Agent of the Insurer,” covering a very important new Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Salyers v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 2017 DJDAR 9291 (Sept. 20, 2017). The article details the case’s key holdings, as it establishes federal ERISA common law rules that follow California’s employer-friendly rules. The decision provides a solid foundation for future ERISA plan participants and beneficiaries to vigorously attack ERISA coverage denials on theories of estoppel, waiver and breach of fiduciary duty.

The article is posted below with the permission of the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

By Robert

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