The lawsuit, entitled Richard Feingold v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Case No. 13-cv-10185, U.S. District Court Massachusetts, Boston, was filed by Richard Feingold, who claims that John Hancock only paid him as a beneficiary of his late mother' life insurance policy, four years after her death in 2006, when Feingold discovered she had the policy. Feingold alleges he found information on the Illinois treasurer' website which showed he had unclaimed property owed to him from John Hancock through his late mother' policy. Up until that point, Feingold was unaware, he claims, that his mother had a life insurance policy, or that he was owed death benefits. He subsequently contacted the insurer and was paid, however John Hancock refused to provide him with a copy of his late mother' policy, or any explanation about the benefits he received.
The potential class action claims that John Hancock routinely checks the Social Security Administration' master death list so it can halt payments to annuity holders who have become deceased; however the insurer fails to check the same database to see if a life insurance policy holder has died so the company can promptly pay beneficiaries. Essentially, the lawsuit claims, the insurer uses the information solely for its own benefit.
Brian J. Wanca, of Anderson & Wanca, the attorney representing Feingold, told the Boston Globe that his client isn't sure whether or not he has been paid all the money owed to him under the terms of the policy. He is also concerned that Feingold' case isn't uncommon. "We don't believe this is an isolated situation,"Wanca, said. "We believe this is the tip of the iceberg."
The John Hancock Life Insurance Company recently paid $13 million to settle allegations brought by six states that it didn't work hard enough to pay life insurance benefits.