Are you the beneficiary of a life insurance policy issued by New York Life Insurance Company in California? Was your policy terminated for non-payment after Jan. 1, 2013? You may be entitled to compensation. Fill out the form »

Case Status
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
Case Number
New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation
File Date


Hagens Berman filed a class-action lawsuit against New York Life Insurance alleging it violated California law by failing to provide mandated annual notices to its policyholders. Attorneys say this caused insureds’ policies to lapse improperly, and that New York Life Insurance refused to pay the death benefits owed to beneficiaries after policyholders passed away.


Under California state law, life insurance companies such as New York Life Insurance are required to give their policyholders an opportunity to designate a third party to receive notice of potential termination of benefits for non-payment of premiums. According to the lawsuit, this law provides a critical safeguard against people actively losing their life insurance coverage, particularly seniors, who may be more likely to accidentally miss payments.

The lawsuit alleges New York Life Insurance failed to provide policyholders with annual notice of their right to designate a third party and did not provide policyholders with the requisite form to make the designation, as mandated under California law. According to the complaint, rather than complying with the law and informing policyholders clearly and explicitly of their rights, New York Life buried the information in a long, confusing and ambiguous document that made it nearly impossible for policyholders to exercise their rights.

According to reports, at least 75% of American adults have some form of life insurance, and attorneys say that New York Life Insurance has repeatedly and intentionally failed to fulfill its legal obligations to beneficiaries.


According to the lawsuit, if a life insurance policyholder loses coverage and seeks reinstatement, they may have to undergo a new physical exam and be underwritten again, risking a significantly more expensive — possibly unaffordable — premium if their health has changed since they initially purchased their policy. The portions of the California Insurance Code which became effective Jan. 1, 2013 are intended to protect policyholders from this risk should they miss a premium payment, which attorneys say is not a mere hypothetical concern when one is ill or in the final stages of life.

Why was my loved one's life insurance policy lapsed or terminated by New York Life Insurance?

According to attorneys, insureds’ life insurance policies may have lapsed or been terminated if they missed a premium payment. However, the lawsuit states, New York Life Insurance and other insurance companies are required under California state law to provide policyholders with an annual opportunity to designate a third party to receive notice of potential termination of benefits for non-payment of premiums. If insurance companies fail to provide this notice and a form to provide the notice to California policyholders, as the lawsuit alleges New York Life Insurance has, they are violating the law and may have improperly lapsed or terminated an insured’s life insurance policy.

What do I do if my deceased loved one's life insurance policy was lapsed or terminated for nonpayment of premium and I was denied death benefits?

Hagens Berman understands that maintaining coverage at a stable rate is of the utmost importance to life insurance policyholders, many of whom are on fixed incomes and rely on these policies to ensure care for their loved ones. Contact the firm to learn more about your rights against New York Life Insurance for allegedly improperly lapsing or terminating life insurance policies.

How can a class action help with an improperly lapsed or terminated life insurance policy?

Through a class-action lawsuit, individual consumers can collectively bring claims against powerful corporations that would otherwise have the upper hand, like New York Life Insurance. A class-action lawsuit seeks to level the playing field, bringing strength to collective action to change corrupt practices and negligent responses to customers. Though these measures do not bring immediate relief, they are a time-tested method of holding companies accountable for wrongdoing, including improperly lapsed or terminated life insurance policies.


Hagens Berman is one of the most successful consumer rights law firms in the U.S. and has bested some of the nation's largest corporations on behalf of those most vulnerable to corporate greed and negligence. The firm has secured settlements valued at more than $320 billion against insurance companies, pharmaceutical conglomerates and others, and our legal team is currently pursuing similar litigation against other life insurance providers. Your claims will be handled by attorneys experienced in insurance plan litigation.


In no case will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the legal team for the class.


Motion for Class Certification Filed

First Amended Complaint Filed
Complaint Filed

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