The same-sex partner of a deceased employee of Edinboro University in Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against Cigna for wrongfully denying his life insurance claim.
He claims that Cigna denied his claim because it did not recognize him as the lawful husband and beneficiary of the decedent. According to the lawsuit, the couple resided in the same household as domestic partners from 1994 until the insured’s death in June 2012.
When the insured started working for Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, he applied for recognition of his same-sex partner as a qualified domestic partner for health care and other benefits. His application was granted and he received $50,000 coverage of life insurance from Prudential with a right to buy additional life insurance.
The complaint claims that when the diseased applied for $100,000 in supplemental life insurance coverage through Cigna, a human resources worker did not list his same-sex partner as the beneficiary.
After the insured’s death, Cigna refused to pay the life insurance claim, because the insured’s same-sex partner did not qualify as a legal spouse under Delaware law, where Cigna is headquartered.
Instead, Cigna paid the life insurance proceeds to the deceased’s mother, as the decedent’s next-of kin. The complaint alleges that the couple met Delaware’s standards for the definition of spouse in a civil union.
The complaint also makes a claim against Edinboro for violating the equal protection clause by offering a life insurance policy that did not equally cover same-sex relationships and heterosexual marriages.
The Cigna application does not recognize same-sex domestic partners as next-of kin recipients of life insurance unless their names are specifically written in the application.
The application does however, recognize spouses in heterosexual marriages regardless of whether of not their names are written in the application.
Call (888) 510-2212 to speak with a life insurance lawyer.