Legal Question in Insurance Law in Nevada

If an insurance agent wrote several policies (accident/life) with a specified beneficiary, and later the policy holder asked that the beneficiary was changed on all policies to a different specified beneficiary. The policy holder died and it was found that one policy was not changed and a claim was made by the original beneficiary for payment. Is the agent guilty of negligence for not getting all policies changed per the wishes of the now-deceased? Can legal recourse be taken against the agent or agent's company?

Asked on 7/13/12, 10:32 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

James Smith James E. Smith Ltd.

With the deceased gone you would have to come up with proof that he meant to change the beneficiary on the policy you are talking about. It has to be more than a "he said, she said" scenario. If there is proof you can file a claim against the agent company's errors and omissions policy.

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Answered on 7/13/12, 12:23 pm

Paul Malikowski Malikowski Law Offices, Ltd.

Under Nevada law, an insurance agency that undertakes to procure insurance for another owes an obligation to its client to use reasonable diligence in attempting to place the insurance and to seasonably notify the client if it, the insurance agency, is unable to obtain the insurance.

Your attorney can explain further.

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Answered on 7/13/12, 8:50 pm
Rick Williams Law Offices of Frederick D. (Rick) Williams, Chtd.

The intentions of the policy holder will have to be established by more than just a pattern of other policies being changed. If you (or anyone) can produce a copy of a letter to the insurance agent listing the policies and specifically demanding that the beneficiary be changed on all of them, that would more clearly demonstrate that the slip-up was on the part of the agent, and not by the policy owner. A court will likely presume that since he changed the beneficiary on several policies, he obviously knew how to accomplish it, so if one policy was not changed, he must have intended such.

This entire matter will turn on the sufficiency of the evidence, and without any evidence to the contrary, it will be presumed under the law that the language in the policy expressed the policy holder's intent.

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Answered on 7/15/12, 1:01 am

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