I admit, I haven’t scoured the news services for confirmation of this, but my mother claims that she heard on the news yesterday that the reason that they’re still searching so hard for bodies in the WTC wreckage is because the families of the missing people won’t be able to collect any life insurance without the recovery of a body.
Can this possibly be true? Are insurance companies seriously going to deny life insurance claims because someone’s loved one was vaporized in the collapse of the WTC? Would it not be enough to show that said family member worked (or otherwise had business) there on the day of the attacks, and that they are, in fact, missing? Isn’t this what happens on plane crashes where no bodies are able to be recovered, that confirmation of the person’s presence on the place is sufficient to prove their death?
No. It’s not true. Life Insurance Companies may be evil scum, but they are smart evil scum.
Life insurance is extremely profitable. The insurance company goes into the contract knowing that people occasionally die.
For their own self-interest, Life Insurance companies are almost without exception extremely helpful and prompt in paying out claims. Nothing could be worse for their image then to try and hold money back from some person who just lost a loved one.
Nothing builds confidence, trust, and a great relationship with the public, then when a IC bends over backwards to help the bereaved. They do it.
It is for this reason that I recall reading that every Life Insurance company came out and said they would not attempt to invoke the “act of war” exclusion that occurs within most contracts.
They will want a death certificate though, and most claim agents will be very helpful in getting you one.
In fact, Life Insurance companies commonly pay out on policies that they have reason to believe may be fraudulent, to avoid bad PR. If their investigation proves it so, then they are most aggressive in getting back their money.
Life Insurance is one of those few industries, that IMO actually works pretty much the way it should.
As an addendum, my law firm (and many other in NYC) is participating in a mass effort to expedite the process of getting death certificates to those who lost family in the WTC. Basically, they had a big training session one evening and then lawyers work at various sites in four hour shifts talking with the families, getting all the relevant information and making all of the relevant legal filings. This is partially for life insurance purposes, I’m sure (if nothing else, having the death certificate makes the claims process smoother), but also for other reasons like passing on the decedent’s property (indeed, in the memo the firm circulated on this effort, they noted that trusts and estates attorneys were particularly needed).