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Page v. American General Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 11, 2014

PATRICK PAGE (N-21564), Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN GENERAL LIFE INSURANCE CO., f/k/a WESTERN NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE CO., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN Z. LEE, District Judge.

Patrick Page ("Plaintiff"), an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center, has sued American General Life Insurance Co., formerly known as Western National Life Insurance Co. ("American General" or "Defendant"), for breach of contract (Count I) and violation of Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code, 215 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/155 (Count II). Plaintiff alleges that American General refused to change the beneficiaries of his father's annuity policy in accordance with a request his father made in September 2010 and another request completed by his father dated October 26, 2010. According to Plaintiff, he is the rightful beneficiary of the policy, but rather than distributing the insurance proceeds to him upon his father's death, American General provided the benefits to the original beneficiaries. American General moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the Court denies the motion [21].

Factual Background[1]

American General issued an annuity policy to Plaintiff's father, Paul Page. Am. Compl. at 6. Paul Page provided American General with a change-of-beneficiary form in September 2010. Id. at 8. The request to change beneficiaries complied with the policy requirements and was received by American General. Id. American General then mailed a "second" change-of-beneficiary form (referred to the company as a "Service Request Form") to his father on October 13, 2010. Id. at 9.

Attached to the Amended Complaint is the October 13, 2010, letter from American General, which states, in relevant part:

We have received your request to change the beneficiary on your contract held by Western National Life Insurance Company. In order for us to process this request, additional information is required.
Please complete section 2 and 6 on the enclosed Service Request Form. Please keep in mind a named beneficiary cannot witness the request. Enclosed you will find a return envelope for your convenience.

Id., Ex. A, 10/13/10 Letter from T. Montgomery to Paul Page.

Plaintiff's father completed the Service Request Form in the presence of a witness and signed it on October 26, 2010. Id. at 9. The next day, on October 27, 2010, Plaintiff's father died of heart failure in his driveway before he could mail the form to American General. Id. According to Plaintiff, the first and second requests to change beneficiaries showed the intent of the insured to change beneficiaries. Id. Plaintiff contends that he is a rightful beneficiary of the insurance policy under both the first and second request forms. Id. at 10.

Plaintiff wrote a letter to American General on June 13, 2011, inquiring about the status of the policy proceeds, and at that time mailed a copy of the Service Request Form his father completed on October 26, 2010 to American General. Id. at 11. Plaintiff sent a second letter on July 11, 2011, again inquiring as to the status of the policy proceeds and seeking a copy of the "request to change beneficiaries" his father had sent to the insurer in October 2010.[2] Id.

American General replied via letter on July 27, 2011, which is attached to the Amended Complaint, stating that it had not received the Service Request Form dated October 26, 2010, until after Plaintiff's father's death. Id., Ex. E, 7/27/11 Letter from N. Sanders to Patrick Page. In fact, the insurer informed Plaintiff that it had not received a copy of the October 26, 2010, Service Request Form until it had received Plaintiff's June 13, 2011, letter. Id. By that time, the insurer had already distributed the funds from the policy to the originally named beneficiaries on file. Id. The letter further noted that the insurer would provide additional information regarding beneficiary designations and claims payments to the executor of Plaintiff's father's estate upon receipt of letters testamentary. Id. Plaintiff contends that this response was "false and misleading, " as the insurer's October 13, 2010, letter to Plaintiff's father indicated that it had previously received a request to change beneficiaries from him. Id. at 11-12.

Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and resolves all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Echevarria v. Chi. Title & Trust Co., 256 F.3d 623, 625 (7th Cir. 2001). The key question is whether the complaint ...


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