Ohio federal District Judge Matthew W. McFarland preliminarily approved a $28 million proposed settlement with the named plaintiff and a proposed settlement class involving nearly 12,000 policyholders of US Financial Life Insurance Company.
Final Approval in August
Plaintiff and class members alleged the insurer unjustifiably increased the cost of insurance (COI) charges on certain universal life products in 2015. Judge McFarland also preliminarily certified the proposed settlement class and preliminarily appointed Beasley Allen lawyers W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section, Rachel Minder and Paul Evans as lead class counsel. The settlement is subject to final approval.
“We are proud to represent these policyholders and pleased with the relief this proposed settlement offers them. The case was a hard-fought battle with worthy advocates opposing our class, but the case resolved with very good relief and benefits to the class members. We look forward to the Court granting final approval to the class in August.”
— Dee Miles, Consumer Fraud Section Head
If approved, the settlement agreement provides the proposed class members with several valuable benefits.
- U.S. Financial Life will create a common settlement fund of $11.5 million. This fund will be disbursed to settlement class members pro-rata, based on the portion of COI charged to each class policy after the 2015 COI rate increases. No settlement class member will receive less than $100.
- The proposed settlement provides that U.S. Financial Life agrees not to impose any COI rate increases on class members’ policies for five years.
- U.S. Financial Life agrees not to seek to void, rescind, cancel, have declared void, or otherwise deny coverage or death claims submitted by settlement class members based on any alleged lack of insurable interest or misrepresentations made in connection with the original application process.
- For class members who have not already availed themselves of this right in 2021, U.S. Financial Life agrees to provide in-force illustrations to class members upon request and at no cost to the settlement class member until October 1, 2021.
This total value makes up both the $11.5 million Common Settlement Fund and the value of the other relief detailed above, reasonably valued between $14,643,000 and $17,571,600. This value is supported by formal and informal discovery as well as valuations by Plaintiff’s experts.
The case is No. 1:17-cv-417 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.