This week on Legal Break, Attorney Gary Bruce discusses life insurance policies and answers some common questions viewers have regarding life insurance. First, Gary covers under what circumstances someone can take out a life insurance policy on another person without their knowledge or consent.
Gary also discusses how to proceed if benefits are not paid. This is the issue that we see most as lawyers – when someone has passed away and the insurance company is not paying the life insurance policy. Georgia has favorable laws in this case. If the insurance company doesn’t act in good faith, there are penalties and you can also get attorney’s fees when you bring these actions against the insurance carrier. If you have questions about life insurance or are having difficulty collecting on a life insurance policy, please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting and free consultation.
Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues, this is Legal Break with attorney, Gary Bruce.
Maureen: Maureen Akers here today with Gary again. Gary, thank you so much for joining us.
Gary: Good to be here, thank you.
Maureen: Well today we’re talking about a question that we’ve gotten from a viewer, it’s pretty interesting. The viewers asking about a life insurance policy, and they’ve taken it out on another family member. Can someone do that without somebody’s knowledge? Like can I say, oh I’m gonna go just take out a life insurance policy on my daughter without telling her or her knowing about it?
Gary: You can on your daughter if they’re a minor. Yeah, that’s the easy question there. The question that comes up is, who can you insure? You know, can you take out an insurance policy on a total stranger, kind of betting on what’s going to happen? Or maybe you have a hand in what happens, so the so the law says no, without their consent. Unless you have an insurable interest in that person. So, the insurable interest would be they work with you, maybe it’s a key man policy at a law firm so or so to speak, or they owe you money, or maybe they owe you services. So, that if there is a legitimate business interest or, you know, involvement, then you can take out an insurance policy on the other person, but you have to- they have to consent to it.
Maureen: They do. So, they have to know about.
Gary: They have to know about it. And the insurance company’s supposed to tell them that they are being insured by somebody else too. So there are some protections so we don’t just say-
Maureen: “I think Joe Smith might not make it through the week!”
Gary: Yeah, he might not make it through Thursday! Yeah, so we take out a policy, so no insurance company is going to do that. Children are different, husbands and wives are different, actually you can take out a policy on your children without telling them. That’s an insurable interest in that relationship, and then husbands and wives certainly can take out policies on one another, they think that’s generally what happens, the beneficiary of your life would be your husband. So, you know, that’s kind of common and really the intended purpose. So, yes you can, but with some caveats, and you can’t just do it secretly.
Maureen: Yeah, somebody has to know about it. So, what if the benefits are not paid for some reason, is there, I guess, a lawsuit?
Gary: That’s probably where we see more issues as a lawyer. Not so much I’ve been insured by somebody I don’t know who they are, the question is, are they paying? And Georgia has some good law on that, if an insurance company doesn’t act in good faith, if they don’t pay a claim, whether it’s life insurance benefits or any benefits, there are some penalties, and interests, and attorneys fees even, that can be levied against the insurance carrier for not doing what they’re supposed to do. So, that’s when you need a lawyer, if they’re not paying, if they don’t tell you, that’s when you call a lawyer.
Maureen: Yeah, very good- interesting topic. Thanks so much for joining us today, Gary we look forward to seeing you on the very next Legal Break.