We Know How To Negotiate With Insurers
Our lawyers are very experienced at representing policyholders in disputes with insurance companies. We have handled some of the largest insurance dispute cases in Georgia history, including a $153 million consumer class action lawsuit against Life of Virginia (now known as GE Life Annuity & Assurance Co.) for illegally raising premiums on universal life insurance policies.
Our lawyers handle all kinds of insurance disputes. Often, many policyholders are victims of the same insurance company tactics. In these cases, our lawyers can file the lawsuit as a consumer class action on behalf of all policyholders.
Insurance Dispute Cases And Certifications Handled By Our Lawyers*
Credit Insurance Unearned Premium Litigation
Jason Crawford and Dustin Brown have worked extensively prosecuting nationwide litigation involving the credit insurance industry. The claims relate to these insurance companies’ practice of failing to refund unearned premiums owed to class members when class members’ loans are paid off early, and cases are pending all over the country in state and federal courts with respect to such claims. In the first of these cases to reach the certification stage, the Muscogee County Superior Court certified a nationwide class at the end of a daylong hearing handled by Jason Crawford on behalf of the class. This class certification order approving class action treatment was affirmed in its entirety on July 10, 2006, by the Georgia Court of Appeals, and on Oct. 30, 2006, the Supreme Court of Georgia declined to review that decision of the Georgia Court of Appeals, thereby upholding the trial court’s order certifying a nationwide class in its entirety.
In proving class treatment was appropriate and necessary to address this conduct, Crawford crafted a novel approach to obtaining evidence from a credit reporting agency that established the insurance companies’ obligation to pay refunds to those class members whose underlying loans were, in fact, paid off early.
Consumer Class Action Case – ‘Universal Life’ Insurance Policies
McBride v. Life of Virginia, now known as GE Life Annuity & Assurance Co. — The litigation related to “universal life” insurance policies and, more specifically, the administration of those policies with respect to periodic premium charges. Robert McBride, for instance, saw his $150 monthly premium, which he had paid regularly for 13 years, unilaterally increased by the company every year on his birthday, starting around the 14th year of his policy. Ultimately, Mr. McBride’s premium obligation tripled.
The issue for class purposes was whether GE Life had the contractual right to take such actions with respect to class members like Robert McBride. During the litigation, GE Life produced the equivalent of millions of pages of electronically stored policyholder information, and the company was forced to provide discovery of user-created documents that had previously been unsearchable and scattered throughout the company’s system. Settlement negotiations began in earnest, leading to a truly innovative settlement that obtained massive benefits for the class.
The settlement made available more than $153 million in real relief to the class members, including the opportunity to receive a guarantee from the company that premiums for qualifying class members could not be increased by the company during the life of the policies.
Read more verdicts and settlements.
*The lawyers of Crawford & Brown Law Firm LLP were involved in the representation of these cases while they were attorneys at the law firm of Butler, Wooten, Fryhofer, Daughtery & Crawford, LLP.