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smcc360
04-28-2009, 05:05 AM
Can an insurer refuse to pay out on a policy, if the insured died as a result of criminal activity in which he was engaged at the time of his death?

More specifically:

A ( a big guy) assaults B (a little guy) in front of witnesses, with the stated intention of beating B to death.

B shoots A with a licensed handgun, killing A.

The shooting is investigated by local law enforcement. No charges are filed against B.

Can A's life insurance carrier refuse to pay A's beneficiary?

Thanks for your help.

HoraceJames
04-28-2009, 06:21 AM
Policies can be written with exceptions for just about anything. They can refuse you for skydiving so I expect death while involved in a crime (assault) is a reasonable exclusion, especially if it's a felony. But I'm no underwriter.

jclarkdawe
04-28-2009, 07:11 AM
Normally an insurance policy excludes any criminal activity. For instance, car insurance does not cover a suspended driver (driving while under suspension is illegal). Or if you blow up your house while producing meth, you won't have an insurance payment to pay for your criminal defense attorney.

In your scenario, I would not expect the insurance company to pay out.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

hammerklavier
04-28-2009, 11:15 PM
Assuming the policy was written not to pay in this case, the company would need to run an investigation upon seeing the cause of death on the death certificate. They would probably request a police report.

The beneficiary would have some recourse if the policy didn't meet state laws about allowable exclusions, or if the deceased could be shown to have mental illness which likely precipitated the assault.