Pacific Life & Annuity Co. is questioning the veracity of a $1 million life insurance policy that a Monsey woman took out 19 months before she died.
The Newport Beach, California, insurer sued Jacob Moskowitz, the husband of Odel Moskowitz and the beneficiary of the policy on April 2 in U.S. District Court in White Plains.
The complaint does not accuse Mr. Moskowitz of wrongdoing but contests his claim for payment under the policy.
Odel Moskowitz “represented that she was healthy and disease-free, the complaint states. “She was “in fact, unbeknownst to Pacific Life, receiving treatment for advanced stage cancer.”
Mrs. Moskowitz was 51 when she applied for life insurance in July 2017.
She listed her employment as Realtor and interior designer, the couple’s joint annual income of $2,150,000, and pending $1 million life insurance policies from three other insurers that would bring total coverage to $4 million.
At least five times during the five-month application process, she attested to her health, according to the lawsuit.
For instance, she submitted a medical form on which she checked “no” to several questions about her health and medical treatment in the previous five to 10 years, including cancer and diseases of the breast. She stated that the findings in her annual “GYN checkup” in 2016 were normal.
The medical form was signed by a Brooklyn doctor who stated that he examined Mrs. Moskowitz at her home.
Pacific Life claims that Mrs. Moskowitz continued representing herself as healthy in a telephone interview, an underwriting report, the formal application and a certificate of health.
The policy was approved in December 2017.
Mrs. Moskowitz died last July.
Pacific Life opened an investigation and discovered, according the complaint, that she was being treated for metastatic breast cancer before the policy was issued.
The insurer bases its conclusion on two drugs that were prescribed the month before the policy was issued. They include Letrozole, also known as Femara, a medication used to treat breast cancer, and Ibrance, for metastatic breast cancer.
Had she answered the questions accurately, the complaint states, “Pacific Life would have declined to issue the policy.”
The insurer claims that it tried to contact Mr. Moskowitz numerous times during its investigation, but got no response until it was notified that a complaint had been filed with the New York Department of Financial Services.
Mr. Moskowitz had taken issue with Pacific Life’s request for medical records and for not paying the insurance claim.
Pacific Life responded that it was contesting the policy due to misrepresentations.
The company has returned the premiums that were paid for the policy, according to the complaint. It is asking the court to rescind the policy and award Pacific Life attorneys’ fees and costs.
Pacific Life is represented by five attorneys for the Cozen O’Connor firm in Manhattan and Philadelphia.