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No Insurance Coverage for Cancer Non-Disclosure

A widow cannot collect on her husband’s life insurance policy because she failed to disclose his diagnosis of metastasized pancreatic cancer when he applied for insurance, and the Roanoke U.S. District Court grants judgment on the pleadings to defendant insurance company.

In September 2007, wife applied for the $50,000 policy and answered “No” to a question about whether husband had been treated for cancer in the past three years. Defendant carrier approved the policy, and later added another $5,000 in coverage. On Aug. 15, 2009, her husband died and plaintiff wife sought to recover under the policy. After she disclosed her husband’s “history of pancreatic cancer” and other medical conditions, it would have been unable to approve him for coverage under the policy.

Plaintiff’s exhibit shows at least that as of April 27, 2007, her husband had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that was thought to be uncurable (and indeed had metastasized to his liver), that the policy application and request for increased coverage completed later that year asked whether he had been treated for cancer or any disease or disorder of the liver within the past three years, that plaintiff incorrectly answered that he had not been and that the carrier would not have issued the policy had it known of the diagnosis. Under the circumstances, it clearly appears the carrier is entitled to judgment on the pleadings.

Reid-Smith v. Globe Life & Accident Ins. Co. (Wilson) No. 7:12cv00393, Dec. 7, 2012; USDC at Roanoke Va. VLW 012-3-593, 3 pp.

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