OUR VIEW: Insurance claims shouldn’t be so tricky

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:01 am on Monday, June 11, 2012

People buy disability insurance in an attempt to protect their families should something awful happen. You pay into the system, hoping you won’t ever need to use it.

That’s what Branden Peterman of Edmore did four years ago. With a third child on the way, he bought both life and disability insurance through Auto Owners Insurance in an attempt to protect his expanding family.

Then the unthinkable happened. He was paralyzed in a logging accident, just days after his son was born.
So he and his wife, Carrie, submitted a claim for both his life and disability insurance. Auto Owners granted the life insurance but denied the disability insurance, stating that Branden failed to mention three visits to a chiropractor.

The Petermans filed a civil suit and last week a jury in the 8th Judicial Circuit Court ruled that Branden did not misrepresent his medical history when applying for the disability insurance.

Obviously, this was a huge victory for the Peterman family. But even more than that, it was a victory for all who try to do the right thing by making sure we have insurance. Making a claim in cases like this shouldn’t be such a tricky process or have so many loopholes. It has cost several years of valuable time and a ton of frustration for a family already dealing with huge challenges. Our hope is that now, the Petermans can get on with living their lives as a family without teetering so precariously on the edge.

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Kudos to the more than 114 athletes from Montcalm and Ionia counties who competed in the Special Olympics State Summer Games at Central Michigan University a little more than a week ago. This is a highly anticipated event and we’re proud of each and every competitor.

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Speaking of events, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life kicks off at noon at Montcalm Community College on Friday. More than just a fundraising event, it offers the community a way to celebrate those who have battled cancer. There are more than 32 teams taking part this year, but you don’t have to be on a team to come show your support. Closing ceremonies will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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