• Legal Help: Mutual of Omaha LTD Insurance Denial, Appeal & LawsuitsLegal Help: Mutual of Omaha LTD Insurance Denial, Appeal & Lawsuits
  • Mutual of Omaha Lawsuit Help for Disability Income Benefit DenialMutual of Omaha Lawsuit Help for Disability Income Benefit Denial
  • Mutual of Omaha Disability Appeal Tips to Win BenefitsMutual of Omaha Disability Appeal Tips to Win Benefits
  • Mutual of Omaha Reverses Long Term Disability Benefit DenialMutual of Omaha Reverses Long Term Disability Benefit Denial
  • Mutual of Omaha - Disability Insurance Benefit Denials, Appeals, Lawsuits & ClaimsMutual of Omaha - Disability Insurance Benefit Denials, Appeals, Lawsuits & Claims

Court Orders United of Omaha to Pay Death Benefit, Attorney’s Fees and Prejudgment Interest

In Brown v. United of Omaha Life Insurance, United unsuccessfully tried to avoid paying a death benefit to Lloyd Brown III, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy chosen by his father, Lloyd Brown II. Ultimately, Brown III won, but the case was remanded to the district court to determine the exact monetary amount of his award as well as the amount of attorney’s fees and prejudgment interested to which Brown III was also entitled.

Overview of Facts

It all started in December 2011, when Lloyd Brown II, a truck driver for West Side Transport Inc., submitted a “Benefit Election Authorization” for life insurance offered by his employer through Hartford Insurance Company. The effective date of the policy was February 1, 2012. West Side terminated its relationship with Hartford effective January 31, 2012, and offered optional life insurance to its employees through United of Omaha Life Insurance.

Beginning on February 1, 2012, West Side began deducting an amount from Brown II’s paycheck that would pay for $30,000 worth of life insurance. From March 21, 2012, until Brown II’s death in November 2012, an amount was deducted from his paycheck which was equivalent to a $181,666.67 death benefit. Following his father’s death, Brown III submitted a claim for the death benefit, which United denied on two grounds:

1) United agreed to take over policies in effect as of January 31, 2012. Although Brown II had applied for the guaranteed issue policy in December 2011, the effective date was February 1, 2012. Therefore, Brown II did not have coverage since he had not submitted evidence of insurability as required by policies issued after United took over.

2) Even if Brown II had coverage, it was limited to $30,000 since the record did not show that he ever made a formal request for an increased death benefit.

Brown III exhausted his administrative remedies and then filed this ERISA lawsuit. His motion for summary judgment was granted by an Ohio District Court and United appealed. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court decision in favor of Brown III, but remanded for further proceedings.

Brown II Was Not Required to Submit Evidence of Insurability

United argued that in December 2011, when Brown II applied for life insurance through Hartford, it was guarantee issue and the plan did not require evidence of insurability. Since Brown II’s policy did not take effect until February 1, 2012, after United took over as the insurer and required evidence of insurability, something Brown II did not provide, he did not qualify for a death benefit.

The Court conducted a comprehensive analysis of the policy language and held that it was clear that an employee who “elected” insurance under the prior plan was not required to submit evidence of insurability. Since Brown II “selected,” which is the same as “elected,” insurance under the prior plan, United was bound by the plain language of the term “elected” and Brown III was entitled to collect the death benefit under Brown II’s policy.

Appellate Court Agrees Brown III is Entitled to a Minimum of $150,000 and Remands for Determination of Accurate Amount

United argued that even if there was coverage, it was limited to $30,000 since there was no evidence that Brown II had ever requested an increase in coverage. Brown II presented evidence that the death benefit amount withheld from Brown II’s wages increased from approximately $4.00 a month to $122.81 a month. Brown II would have objected to that withholding amount if it was incorrect. The Court agreed, but remanded for a determination of the accurate amount.

Remand for Amount Determinations

According to the terms of the policy, the death benefit would be $150,000 or five times Brown II’s annual salary, which ever amount was less. The appellate Court remanded for a determination of the proper amount of the death benefit and also for a determination of the amount of attorney’s fees to which Brown III was entitled.

This case was not handled by our office, but can be instructive for those struggling to obtain a death benefit after a loved one dies. For questions about this or any other question about death or disability benefits, contact one of our disability attorneys at Dell & Schaefer for a free consultation.

Videos, Questions, Resolved Cases, Lawsuit Summaries & Company Reviews

disability insurance companies complaints

Leave a comment or ask us a question


Do you help Mutual Of Omaha claimants nationwide?

We represent Mutual Of Omaha clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Mutual Of Omaha disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Mutual Of Omaha. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Mutual Of Omaha.

How do you help Mutual Of Omaha claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Mutual Of Omaha long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Mutual Of Omaha:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Mary R.

I first started working with Dell & Schaefer after two failed back surgeries forced me to stop working. I was the major breadwinner of our family and had a very generous compensation package that included long term disability. I was certainly glad to know that I had the long term disability policy to help us during this major change in my family’s life. I was surprised to learn that long term disability means something very different to the insurance company (MetLife) who held my policy. They wanted to place an 18 month restriction on pay out and wash their hands of me. Hardly “long term”.

I hired Dell & Schaefer to fight for me and that they did. They were well schooled in the tactics of insurance companies and they expertly navigated the many barricades the insurance company placed in front of me. They were extremely knowledgeable in all areas of the law and quickly identified a course of action. They were fair and sensitive with my personal concerns and I always felt that I had an advocate on my side. Their experience proved invaluable as they were able to successfully argue my case and win my long term disability case, securing my benefit and my family’s income needs. And they continue to support me, as insurance companies continue to find ways to challenge the validity of your claim even after the initial decision is made in your favor.

Dell & Schaefer handles everything for me. This is an extraordinarily difficult thing I have had to endure. Without this money, I have no idea how my family would have been able to survive. Insurance companies can be brutal on individuals and when one is at their most vulnerable as I was, it is critical to have a knowledgeable and powerful attorney on your side. I like the fact that I don’t have to worry about anything and that everything is handled for me by Dell & Schaefer. I am glad to recommend Dell & Schaefer to anyone who needs a strong advocate on their side.

***** 5 stars based on 165 reviews

Speak With An Attorney Now

Request a free legal consultation: Call 800-682-8331 or Email Us