how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

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aquamarine
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how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by aquamarine » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:24 am

My mother died. She had life insurance for which I was a beneficiary. So I called the life insurance company to get the claim forms. I spoke to someone who said she'd send them out in 7-10 days. I waited. I received only a letter. No forms. Called again. Asked for forms. Told they were sent out just wait longer. I asked when were they sent. I was given a date. When I hung up the phone I noticed the date matched the one on the letter I received. Called a third time. I asked if the actual forms were sent or just this letter. The third person verified only this letter was sent. No forms were ever sent.

I explained this was my third call to them. It's an upsetting time and could they please simply send the forms. I was assured they would and in fact they could email the forms to me.

Well, if you've now guessed I've never received any emailed forms, you're correct.

What is my next best move? What is the best thing to do at this point? I'm thinking ask to speak to a supervisor. But is this the way insurance companies work--delay as long as possible? What would you do? Any advice? Has anyone here have experience dealing with life insurance companies and have any words of wisdom on how to make this process go smoother and as quickly as possible.

What do I need to say or do? Also, what exactly do I need to submit --just a form, death certificate, anything else? I'd like to prepare everything I need so I can just submit everything and just be done this.

I do not have experience dealing with insurance companies and will appreciate any wisdom on how to handle resolving this. Thanks

jminv
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by jminv » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:31 am

Sorry for your loss. It's an incredibly stressful period and you shouldn't have to be dealing with an insurance company that is incompetent/doesn't want to act in a timely manner.

I would ask to speak to a supervisor, explain the history, and maybe tell them if I didn't get the form in the next hour that you would be contacting their regulator for purposely delaying a payout. Some insurers also have the forms available online.

You need to send in an original death certificate with the form. Consider returning the form to them with some sort of delivery confirmation. I wouldn't send it regular mail in this case as the insurance company seems to be problematic.

GAAP
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by GAAP » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:37 am

Escalate and document.

If necessary, file a complaint with your State's regulator.

My limited experience with this has been exactly the opposite -- no delays at all.

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Pajamas
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by Pajamas » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:38 am

Check your spam folder.

You could ask them to email you the forms while you're on the phone with them and confirm that you have received them before hanging up.

Does the letter contain any pertinent instructions or information?

DarthSage
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by DarthSage » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:39 am

I'm sorry for your loss.

My MIL died last year, so we went through this. We had an estate attorney help us. We had to provide the insurance company with an official copy of the death certificate.

For better or worse, MIL was 86, she had been hospitalized due to a fall the week before she died, and she had a stroke, then cardiac arrest--all witnessed by her private duty nurse. So, there was zero questions surrounding her death, no autopsy, doctor signed off. This made the process very quick and easy. I'd say we got one check within 4-5 weeks of her death, and another one maybe a week or two later. There were two different life insurance trusts, one benefiting DH/BIL, the other for the grandchildren.

I was very surprised that it all went so smoothly, TBH. I would use my experience as more of a "minimum" than an average. It actually took us more time to re-configure the grandkids' stuff than it did to get the appropriate checks to DH/BIL (grandkids' trust had stipulations; adult children's did not).

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8foot7
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:46 am

Call the regulator.

My wife was the beneficiary of three insurance policies on her mother. From death to full policy payout was about six weeks, and three of those weeks were waiting on the state where her mother died to generate the official death certificate. I don't even recall that there was really a claim form--I think it was a brief phone interview and then they needed the death certificate, and she got a check a couple of weeks later. This was for low six figures in total. It doesn't have to be hard and it appears the company in question in your case is making it so.

LarryAllen
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by LarryAllen » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:59 am

In California you get interest after 30 days of initial death notice (I think). Maybe your state has similar!? Then it's not really a big deal... other than being frustrating how incompetent they are.

InMyDreams
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by InMyDreams » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:43 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:46 am
Call the regulator.
+1. You could ask the insurance company for the contact info of their regulator ;) Or at least mention to them that you would be contacting the regulator (which might be called the State Insurance Commission). I did the latter with a health insurance company and all of a sudden the supervisor became available.

So sorry that you have these troubles added to an already difficult time.

BruDude
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by BruDude » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:02 pm

A valid death claim is a valid death claim, they have nothing to gain by delaying the payout for a week. Not sure why they are giving you the runaround, it should be easy for them to email you a claim form. You can probably even find it on their website unless they don't exist anymore and were bought out by another company. I'd call back one more time, ask to talk to a supervisor, and have them make sure it gets done immediately. This should be easy to fix.

white_water
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by white_water » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:05 pm

Contact the state insurance commission with details. Or if you're a patient person, tell the insurance carrier you will do that.
I've used this hammer twice, both times on purposefully delayed payment.

mouses
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by mouses » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:15 pm

I am sorry for your loss.

What insurance company is this? Maybe someone here knows if they are reputable or not.

I am sure you will need a death certificate. In fact you should get a bunch of them, maybe ten as a first guess, because you will need them for all sorts in financial institutions and possibly other things.

I agree on one more phone call, mention the state insurance commission, stay on the phone until you receive the email form/speak to a supervisor. I might contact the state insurance commission anyway to get their take on this company, because just because you receive the form and send it back doesn't mean they won't delay about issuing a check.

k3vb0t
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by k3vb0t » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:50 pm

Also most companies have an “office of the CEO” that you can complain to. Also known as executive customer service. You can search “executive customer service (insurance company)” and maybe get a number there. Those offices are staffed very well with knowledgeable people who get stuff done fast.

inbox788
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by inbox788 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:50 pm

mouses wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:15 pm
What insurance company is this? Maybe someone here knows if they are reputable or not.
I'm guessing this is an insurance company that was bought out, maybe more than once. It's probably not just incompetence, but systemic issues. The customer service folks are trained to press the "send claim form button", but that only works for Parent Insurance Company, not acquired subsidiary of previously acquired company, so basically the request goes into a black hole. In these cases, you'll have to keep elevating the requests until you reach someone who understands that things are being lost (which is beyond the comprehension of the first line folks), can figure out where things are being lost, and can figure out what solution to take. All this for a simple claim form, but that is automation these days, and if it isn't automated, it's hell to get things done.

toofache32
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by toofache32 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:54 pm

I would go ahead and contact the state insurance commissioner anyway, and keep pestering the insurance company. I say this based on about 6 times I have complained to my state insurance commissioner for other types of insurance. They are slow to respond like any government agency, so go ahead and call them to get in line sooner.

kaudrey
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by kaudrey » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:17 pm

When my sister had to call to do this, the person emailed her the form while she was still on the phone with her.

Dottie57
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:23 pm

Just a quick question. Has Social Security been contacted. They maintain death rolls. Make sure they have been contacted.

aquamarine
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by aquamarine » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:09 pm

Thank you to each and every person who replied. It means the world to me that you took time out of your busy lives to reply and give me valuable advice. I had not thought of many of the good ideas you presented and it was very helpful to read all your responses. This is a terrible time, and to be honest, this is the last thing I wanted to be doing dealing with an insurance company let alone one that is dragging its feet.

So I very much appreciated all your wise words. Thanks again to all of you.

keepingitsimple
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by keepingitsimple » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:14 pm

I'm sorry for your loss and sorry you have this frustration on top of it.

Though not a direct answer to your question (and someone else may have already noted), I did want to point out that your life insurance company may require a copy of the Death Certificate that shows the cause of death. At least that's what was required when I had a loved one pass. Thought I would mention this to prevent further delays.

desafinado
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by desafinado » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:03 pm

I have also had good luck writing to the "investor relations" offices of public companies I've had issues with or questions for. They tend to be full of highly paid professionals without a lot of work to do most of the year, and if you own index funds you can start your letter with "As a shareholder in X Company, I was disappointed to learn..."

Nearly A Moose
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:56 pm

I'm very sorry for your loss. To add another option, depending on old the policy is, consider whether you can identify and call the agent who sold the policy. If they had a relationship with your mother or are good, they might be willing or able to help. They also might be interested to learn that the company is being problematic (especially if they're an independent agent). Consider also whether there's someone else (a child, a spouse) who could help you with the legwork so you can focus on other things.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

bsteiner
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by bsteiner » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:52 pm

Things often fall between the cracks with low level employees. Just try again. They'll probably pay interest for the period from date of death to when the pay the proceeds. Some insurance companies will even offer to hold the proceeds at interest at an above market rate for as long as you want.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:33 pm

I'm sorry for your loss.

If you don't feel like dealing with it now, and you don't have to deal with it now, then don't.

After my wife died I could really only face saying "my wife died" about twice a day. Anything non-essential (which is pretty much everything) that was not handled with utmost dispatch was pushed to the bottom of the pile and not revisited for about six months. Yeah that helps the jerks if they benefit from delay, but it's not about them.

After the second round I had to get my state assemblyman involved to get one insurance company off the dime. From the chain of BCC emails he had one of his staff work through the insurance commissioners office. But from my point of view it was one call to the assemblyman and two weeks later I got a check.

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BolderBoy
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:59 am

aquamarine wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:24 am
I do not have experience dealing with insurance companies and will appreciate any wisdom on how to handle resolving this. Thanks
I went through this last year. Took a month to get the forms by which time I got 3 sets by USPS and two sets by email. Sorry for your loss.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

aristotelian
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by aristotelian » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:14 am

What does the letter say to do?

In the meantime, do you have certified copies of the death certificate in hand?

B. Wellington
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by B. Wellington » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:25 am

aquamarine, so sorry for your loss...

My father went through this almost exactly the same way as you describe when my mother passed over a year ago. Delay after delay. The amount of money in question would only be to help reimburse some of the costs of the funeral. Of course you are dealing with an insurance company and waiting can be very frustrating.

My father (retired Marine) continued to call, ask for their superior or whomever was in charge to speed up the process. Alas, it still took WEEKS (months) before he received a check. Hope your situation goes more smoothly. Keep calling, everyday if needed...Best of Luck to you..

whomever
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by whomever » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:27 am

I would whip out a quick letter saying 'Send me the forms' and possibly send it with some kind of delivery confirmation.

Then I would wait 30 days, maybe 45. If no forms had arrived I would write my state insurance commissioner with a copy of the letter saying I was having trouble getting forms, and could they help.

This may or may not work; some regulators are much more proactive than others, but if it works it's a very low hassle way to deal with things. I can whip out a quick letter faster than I can wade through the voice menus on a phone call.

CedarWaxWing
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by CedarWaxWing » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:48 am

My condolences to you and your family.
whomever wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:27 am
I would whip out a quick letter saying 'Send me the forms' and possibly send it with some kind of delivery confirmation.

Then I would wait 30 days, maybe 45. If no forms had arrived I would write my state insurance commissioner with a copy of the letter saying I was having trouble getting forms, and could they help.

This may or may not work; some regulators are much more proactive than others, but if it works it's a very low hassle way to deal with things. I can whip out a quick letter faster than I can wade through the voice menus on a phone call.
After several calls and a letter already... I would call one more time, but prepared a summary of your requests and contacts prior to the next call... i.e. dates, names of people you spoke to, their responses, etc.

On this next call I would ask to speak to the branch office manager and if they asky why... verbally tell them what your written summary says. If they do not expedite your call to the branch manager, and/or get a call back with in one to two days I would send the letter (as suggested above) to that manager, and the insurance comminsioner's office with an accurate summary (in the briefest of words) of your efforts to resolve this manner to date.

No such errors are made when it comes time to bill for insurance polices, nor to collect the money, nor to charge interest fees for late payments.... so this is built into their system by plan or at least by neglect. No excuses are suitable.

They know how to be efficient when they wish to... so build a fire under them with one more call, then a letter if need be.

For extra special attention write CC: to your local tv station consumer advocate office at the bottom in addition to the Insurance commissioners office.

(All future contacts with them... always get the name of the person you are dealing with, if possible always deal the the top dog in that office from this time forward.)

Good luck.

GlacierRunner
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by GlacierRunner » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:32 am

Per Alaska regulations insurers have 15 days to provide claim forms. If they don't provide claim forms within the timeframe, the consumer is able to submit the claim without an official claim form by providing general information and death certificate. You state law may vary.

Be prepared to put your complaint in writing. It often isn't considered a complaint to the company or the insurance department if it isn't in writing (email is considered in writing).

orangeandwhite
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by orangeandwhite » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:52 am

In addition to the above, another approach is to simply send them a letter indicating that you are filing a claim, this is the policy number, here is the death certificate, please mail me a check. You can note in your letter that you never got a form despite asking, so you are submitting a claim without using their form.

As a general rule, you aren't required to use the insurance company's form. It is nice to do so and makes things go faster but the law doesn't require it. All you really need to do is put them on notice, in writing, of the key facts of your claim: that the insured has died and you would like to be paid in accordance with the policy. If they want more information beyond that they can ask for it, but this action "starts the clock."

JoeRetire
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:09 pm

aquamarine wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:24 am
What is my next best move? What is the best thing to do at this point?
Sorry to hear of your loss.

If you know your mom's insurance agent, call them to enlist their help.
Many insurance companies have forms available from their website - you might want to check there.
Expect delays from all insurance companies when it comes time to pay up.
If all else fails, have the estate's attorney get involved.

GreenGrowTheDollars
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:18 pm

I am sorry for you loss.

If you and your mom lived in the same state, I would file a complaint with your state's insurance regulator. When I did, I rather quickly got a call from the Executive Office resolutions folks and my problem was quickly resolved. They then requested that I promptly inform the regulator that all was now good.

If you live in a different state than your mom, I'd check with your state's insurance regulator as to the correct state to file the complaint -- yours or the one where the insurer is headquartered.

No reason you can't do this at the same time as you send the insurer a written claim for payment.

aquamarine
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Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

Post by aquamarine » Wed May 02, 2018 2:09 pm

Thank you so much for all your very helpful responses. I read every single one and they were all so full of great ideas and suggestions. I did take your advice, and DID manage to get the forms, not without some hassle but I stayed calm but assertive and with a few hitches, did get what I needed in the end.

Thank you so much for your support. I wanted to come back and update and let you know what happened, and share this success. It means so much to be able to hear your wisdom and advice. Take care.

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