Life-insurance claim denied for deceased BC medivac veteran

The insurance company said he failed to 'disclose known facts that affected his insurance risk'

Life-insurance claim denied for deceased BC medivac veteran

The Co-operators Group is facing a civil lawsuit in BC Supreme Court over its denial of the life-insurance claim of a deceased paramedic.

Prior to his death, Matthew Cochlin had worked as part of the BC Ambulance Service’s Infant Transport Team for nearly 30 years, reported Global News. He was also a co-owner of a full-service air ambulance company called Executive Air Ambulance.

The father of four was a smoker with a family history of cancer, which he disclosed when he purchased a life-insurance policy with The Co-operators. He was approved for coverage, though he had to pay almost $4,000 in premiums annually.

Cochlin was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in August 2016; he died on December 22 the same year at age 54. Months after his death, his wife Tania Liemareff said the claim made on his life insurance policy was denied.

Explaining its decision, the Co-operators said that it had reviewed Cochlin’s medical records and his responses to health questions posed during the application process. According to the firm, he did not “disclose known facts that affected his insurance risk,” including efforts to seek medical attention for workplace stress and sleep apnea.

“For this reason, the policy was deemed void and a refund was issued for the premiums paid,” said Leonard Sharman, a spokesperson for The Co-Operators, in a statement to Global News.

“I think it’s a very bad denial,” said personal injury lawyer Scott Stanley of Murphy Battista LLP, who is representing Cochlin’s family in the lawsuit.

Stanley argued that even if the Co-Operators had been aware of Cochlin’s concerns over sleep apnea and workplace stress, he would still have been insured at the same premium.

“He was a snorer and he was investigated for that. It was never determined that he had sleep apnea,” he said. “Even if he did and he didn’t disclose it, I still say that makes no difference. He told you he was a smoker; that’s about as bad as it gets, and you sold it to him anyway.”

According to the deceased’s wife, the denial is especially hard to accept, given the service her husband provided for the local community.

“Countless kids are alive in this province today because of him,” she said. “He dedicated his whole being to making other people’s lives better. And now when his kids need something back … to me it’s just so heartbreaking.”


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