COA widens class-action suit against Lincoln National

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A former policyholder’s class-action lawsuit claiming Lincoln National Life Insurance breached its contract was expanded Tuesday by a Court of Appeals ruling.

Peter S. Bezich represents a class suing the insurer, claiming it overcharged Ensemble II policyholders in 30 states for administrative fees, for including non-mortality factors in determining the cost of insurance, and by failing to reduce the cost of insurance in response to improving mortality rates.

Allen Circuit Judge Thomas J. Felts ruled that only the latter of those claims could be certified for a class action. Both Lincoln National and Bezich appealed. Lincoln National wanted the lone claim class decertified, and Bezich argued all three claims should be certified as a class. The Court of Appeals sided with Bezich.

“Concluding that class certification for the purpose of determining liability is proper for each of Bezich’s three breach of contract claims, we affirm the trial court’s judgment as to Count 3, reverse as to Count 1 and Count 2, and remand for further proceedings," Judge Margret Robb wrote for the panel in Lincoln National Life Insurance Company v. Peter S. Bezich, individually and on behalf of a class of others similarly situated, 02A04-1407-PL-319.

The Ensemble II policies were sold between 1986 and 2008.



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