The case of Roi Thi Do v. Lincoln Benefit Life Co., a Florida court case decided by the 2nd District Court of Appeals, provides an example of how a technical mistake during the application process can lead to the denial of a life insurance claim. The court interpreted Florida Statute Section 627.404 which provides in pertinent part that the party applying for life insurance “apply for or consent in writing to the contract and its terms.” The court strictly construed the provision to mean that an insurer could rescind a life insurance policy if the application was not signed personally by the applicant.
While this might seem like a commonsense requirement, situations arise where it might make sense for someone to authorize another person to sign the policy. If the insurance company engages in conduct that appears to ratify the “informal agent’s” act of signing, beneficiaries can later be severely disappointed. In the Roi Thi Do case, an elderly Vietnamese man with poor English skills took out a life insurance policy. When the insured went to meet with his insurance agent, the policyholder brought his wife, daughter and grandson’s father. The man decided that he needed some time to consider his decision, so he did not sign the application during the meeting.
The elderly man later had his grandson’s father sign the application on his behalf. Because the insured subsequently submitted to a paramedical exam and executed a consent form for blood and urine samples as part of the application process, the insured and his beneficiaries had no reason to suspect that having a family member sign the application would present a problem.
Unfortunately, the insurance company denied the beneficiaries claim and rescinded (voided) the policy after the policyholder passed away. The court ruled in favor of the insurer because the insured had not personally signed the application or otherwise “consented in writing” to the policy and its terms as required by Florida Statute Section 627.404(5).
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].