For Immediate Release
The Pen Group Communications
Tel: (305) 529-1944
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, November 18, 2011 – Becker & Poliakoff today announced that it has won a jury verdict in a wrongful denial of disability benefits suit against Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company. Attorney Rick Benrubi, of Liggio and Benrubi, teamed with Gary Rosen of Becker & Poliakoff as co-counsel for Dr. Peter R. Genovese, a Ft. Lauderdale physician, who brought the breach of contract action before Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips in Broward County Circuit Court against Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company.
The November 4th verdict was the second jury decision against Provident obtained by attorneys Rosen and Benrubi on behalf Dr. Genovese, who was forced to court to obtain the insurance benefits to which he was legally entitled. The recent decision found that Provident must provide payment of disability benefits dating back to 2003 when the insurer discontinued lifetime benefit payments to Dr. Genovese. Previously, Mr. Rosen and Mr. Benrubi represented Dr. Genovese in a suit against Provident that resulted in a jury finding of total disability under the terms of Dr. Genovese’s policy.
The recent suit revolved around the provision in Dr. Genovese’s policy allowing payment of disability benefits only until age 65 unless Genovese became disabled before age 60. The original determination of Dr. Genovese’s disability was made prior to his 60th birthday in 1997. Subsequently, Provident claimed that the physician’s disability occurred after his 60th birthday.
In 1989, Dr. Genovese, then a general practitioner, purchased a disability policy from Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co. The policy stated that Dr. Genovese would receive total disability benefits for a disability that rendered him unable to perform the material and substantial duties of his regular occupation as a doctor of occupational medicine. In 1977, Dr. Genovese developed a debilitating neurological condition, later diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic as chronic motor neuron disease, which made it extremely painful to stand for any length of time.
“We are pleased that for a second time Dr. Genovese has prevailed in a jury trial against a company whose business practices of wrongful claims denial have been widely documented,” said Gary Rosen, a Board Certified Business Litigation Attorney. “The latest case has been a long hard battle with a company that attempted to mount obstacles every step of the way. Thankfully, Dr. Genovese can now receive the compensation to which he is rightfully entitled.”
According to the two attorneys, the claims handling practices of Provident Life and Accident Insurance have come under investigation by insurance regulators in several states and by the New York State Attorney General’s office. In 2004, Provident reached a settlement with regulators requiring it to reassess approximately 200,000 claims that had previously been denied, to completely restructure their claims handling procedures, and to pay a $15 million fine.
“Dr. Genovese’s battle with Provident is far from over,” said Rick Benrubi, a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, who specializes in insurance disputes. “Dr. Genovese also asserted a bad faith claim against Provident and now that Dr. Genovese has prevailed a second time, the bad faith claim which focuses on Provident’s claims handling conduct toward Dr. Genovese and other insureds will proceed.”
About Becker & Poliakoff
Becker & Poliakoff is a diverse commercial law firm with more than 145 attorneys and lobbyists in a total of 15 domestic and international offices. Celebrating its thirty-eighth (38th) year of serving clients, the firm has seven primary areas of practice: Real Estate, Construction Law & Litigation, Community Association, Customs & International Trade, Business Litigation, Corporate & Securities, and Government Law & Lobbying.