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‘Double Indemnity’ life insurance scam, or just being cautious?

Fri Jun 15th, 2012 on     Insurance Claims,    

It may not have happened in Florida, but it could have happened in the movies. A 51-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against an insurance company, claiming that the insurer has failed to pay the death benefit it owes him. The deceased was the man’s traveling companion in August 2011. He is a “person of interest” in her disappearance.

The two met through a dating website and went to Aruba for a few days last summer. On Aug. 2, the policyholder told authorities the pair had been snorkeling and that the woman had not returned. Two days later, he reported her disappearance to the insurance company.

News reports at the time said he was initially considered a witness but authorities soon believed he was responsible for his companion’s death. All of the evidence against him — including the insurance policy — is circumstantial. Her body has never been recovered; her friends and family still hold out hope that she is alive.

Yet Aruba law allows suspects to be detained during criminal investigations, and the man spent four months in an Aruban prison before he was finally freed. No charges were filed, but his return to the U.S. did not mean a return to normal life; he has been in the public eye off and on since he went home in November.

He had purchased travel insurance for the trip, and the policy included accidental death coverage for the policyholder and any other named insured. The coverage is fairly standard for travel policies, and it isn’t unusual to include two travelers on one policy. It is common, for example, for a married couple to take out trip insurance and each to name the other as beneficiary.

The exact nature of this couple’s relationship is still unclear, especially given that the woman had a boyfriend at home at the time of her disappearance. And it is not known, either, if the man paid for her trip or who his beneficiary was.

The original death benefit was $1.5 million. The insured has added $2 million to his demand, explaining in court documents that the amount represented the “full death benefit.”

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Suit: Man denied death benefit after 2011 disappearance of companion in Aruba,” June 14, 2012

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