Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) insured the life of Timothy Whinery. Mr. Whinery died in a tragic automobile accident. His wife eventually made a claim for life insurance benefits under the LINA policy. Incredibly, even though the LINA policy promised to pay benefits for a loss”caused by an accident,” the policy did not define the term”accident.” Worse, in this case LINA determined that Mr. Whinery’s death was not caused by an accident, and so refused to pay. The facts are a bit complicated, but in essence, LINA said that because Mr. Whinery was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, his death was”foreseeable,” and foreseeable consequences cannot be deemed accidental.
What’s worse, LINA actually sells life insurance policies that contain specific provisions precluding benefits when death is caused by driving while intoxicated, but the Whinery policy DID NOT contain any such exclusion. This claim should have been paid! Our view is that LINA is acting unreasonably and in bad faith in continuing to deprive the Whinery family of the life insurance benefits they paid for. You can read more details in a Lawyers.com blog item by clicking on this link: DWI Death an Accident, Insurer’s Claim Rejection Not
The case is filed in the Central District of the United States District Court and is assigned to the Honorable Percy Anderson, Judge Presiding. Trial is currently set for December 20, 2011.