“Most Importantly, Life Insurance Cannot Be Issued To People Who Have Already Died”

That was the position of the underwriting department of the insurance company of a man who died before his life insurance was fully processed. However, as Bryant v. Country Life Ins. Co., 2006 WL 278575 (W.D.Wash. February 2, 2006) suggests, under the right circumstances, one could indeed be issued life insurance after one’s death.
The entire tale would be too long to tell in its entirety, but the case involves an agent for Country Life who sold himself life insurance policies. He already had been issued two small policies, and had filled out an application for a further $1 million policy, including writing a check to himself for the premium, when he died of meningitis. The application was found on his desk and sent for underwriting. The U.S. District Court ruled on several motions for partial summary judgment, the most significant of which involves the question whether the agent had authority to bind the company by filling out the application and taking payment on behalf of himself. The court decided there were issues of fact that precluded summary judgment regarding whether the policy was voidable as a conflict of interest. This left the door open for his estate, the plaintiff, to establish at trial that the insurance company was bound by the agent’s own representations to himself, as long as his actions complied with company policy.

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