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Connecticut insurance titan embroiled in class action litigation

Language seals deals. When carefully crafted and similarly interpreted by various parties, it can promote understanding and positive conclusions that might otherwise have been altered.

Conversely, of course, its ambiguity and other inherent problems can yield headaches of vast dimensions.

Like litigation, which can easily result in Connecticut courts and tribunals in all other states across the country when parties cannot agree on what contractual words and phrases are intended to signify or what the ramifications will be when contrasting views rise to the surface.

An insurance colossus like Hartford Life knows that well, of course, given its long-tenured history and the millions of contracts it has inked with policyholders across decades.

In most cases, of course, the insurance contracts Hartford Life executes with individuals and families turn out to be unproblematic and mutually beneficial for both insured parties and the insurer.

In some instances, though …

A representative case of "things not going right" is presently playing out in a California federal court, where Hartford Life is defending against a class action claim contending that it is treating policyholders with "waiver of premium" policies unlawfully when they become disabled. Waiver policies inked with policyholders provide that insureds can continue their coverage without making premium payments in the event that they become disabled.

Hartford Life and class action plaintiffs are at odds over what precisely amounts to total disability. California law puts forth a rather expansive and low-bar threshold that the plaintiffs centrally point to in their complaint. Conversely, Hartford Life has been applying a more rigid standard than what state statutory law provides for, with the result being that it is denying premium waivers for some policyholders claiming disability.

The case is already of material dimensions, and could get bigger. We will keep readers dutifully informed of any key details that emerge.

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