After two hours of deliberations, a federal jury in Missouri awarded $34.3 million to State Farm policyholders in a class action trial. The class action was brought on behalf of approximately 24,000 current and former owners of universal life insurance policies issued in Missouri. Universal life insurance is a type of life insurance that includes an interest-bearing savings account from which the insurer deducts money each month to cover the cost of the life insurance. The jury found that State Farm systematically overcharged its policyholders for 23 years.
“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict,” said John Schirger, one of the trial lawyers, who has represented policyholders in over a dozen similar cases. “It represents 97% of the damages we requested. The jury was very attentive to the details of complex actuarial concepts and mathematics and rendered a verdict that will restore lost account values to approximately 24,000 Missourians.”
In a pretrial ruling, the Court determined that State Farm violated the Form 94030-25 policy as a matter of law. The jury was asked to determine if the violation caused damages to policyholders and, if so, the amount of those damages. The trial lasted three days. If the award is affirmed on appeal, class members will be notified of the right to share in the settlement at a later date.
The case is Vogt vs. State Farm Life Insurance Company and is pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Central Division. The case is one of several cases across the country being prosecuted by Miller Schirger LLC and co-counsel Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP against insurance companies for overcharging universal life insurance policyholders. Miller Schirger and Stueve Siegel Hanson have analyzed dozens of policies like the one at issue in this trial, and continue to evaluate such claims and prosecute similar cases across the country. They have obtained settlements making available relief to policyholders valued at over $2 billion.
Miller Schirger LLC is a Kansas City, Missouri based law firm focused on resolving complex disputes on behalf of businesses and individuals nationwide. The firm has a proven track record of success representing plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal trial and appellate courts, before administrative and regulatory tribunals, and in arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings nationwide. www.millerschirger.com.