Monday, August 22, 2016

It Just Perpetuates Crime

Denied unless the potus likes you
How many times have you read cases where people pay premiums for years and then, when they look to collect on a policy, the insurance companies pull a fast one and deny the claim?  I see it all the time.

Funny, then, when I'm reading the paper about that couple who, back in December 2, 2015 attacked and murdered 14 people and injured 22 in San Bernardino resulting in in the single largest massacre on the west coast.  I'd like to say the entire United States but that freak who shot up the Florida nightclub a while back was apparently going for a record.

Anyway, as shocking as all this is, what is even more shocking is the fact that I read in today's paper that last week that a federal court is considering to allow insurance payments to the murder's family to the tune of $280,000. 

Seems Rafia Farook, the shooter, had taken out a couple of life insurance policies before going on his murderous rampage and his surviving family is looking to collect.  Because there is no express law against such payments and, in California anyway, insurance companies can be compelled to pay on policies that do not explicitly exclude payment because of criminal acts

Really?!  What this sounds like is a bunch of politicians who are really pushing an agenda and who really, REALLY want to ignore decisions handed down by the SCOTUS. Decisions like Burt v. Union Cent. Life Ins. Co,,187 U.S. 362, 47 L.Ed. 216 (9102) and Northwestern Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. McCue, 223 U.S. 234, 562 L.Ed. 149 (1912).  (see also Molloy v. John Handcock Life Ins. Co., 237 Mass. 181, 97 N.E. 2d 422 (1951).  

In Burt, the Court ruled that:
Public policy precluded recovery of benefits under a life insurance policy when the insured was executed as punishment for a crime...Public policy forbids the insertion in a contract of a condition which would tend to induce crime
Of course, the concept of "public policy" is not a new concept.  In fact, it's been around for at least a century or two.  The English Court of Chancery in Amicable Soc'y v. Bolland, 4 Bligh, N.S. 194 (1830) denied a similarly situated life insurance policy. noting that:
Suppose that in the policy itself...the party insuring had agreed to pay a sum of money year by year, upon condition that, in the event of his committing a felony,...his assignees shall receive a certain sum of money - is it possible that such a contract should be sustained?  it is not void upon the plainest principles of public policy?  Would not such a contract take away one of those restraints operating on the minds of men against commission of crimes? namely the interest we have in the welfare and prosperity of our conexions.
What is even more bothersome is that I keep running into people who think that just because the cases I cited are old, they have no validity.  HELLO, PEOPLE - old or not, they are the basis of the law on public policy and, as such, help to dial in on the issue at hand - which is, is paying on a life insurance policy where the person committed a felony against public policy?  Short answer, of course! 

Long answer, Who knows?  I mean, when people can't tell you who won the civil war but they can tell you who Brad Pitt has been married to, I suspect it depends on what public you're looking at.  In my public, it would be violative of public policy to award monies to a person's family after they had committed a felony (or any crime, for that matter, in which they had been killed or otherwise executed).  But that's my opinion and I'm entitled to it.