Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

A Drunk, Two Insurance Policies, and One Court’s Interpretation

Posted by William Byrnes on February 1, 2011


Robert Fier was employed as a gaming machine operator in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He worked his way up through the company to be promoted to a managerial position.  During this time, Fier enrolled in an insurance program offered by the company to managers.  The enrollment entitled Fier to two insurance policies, a Long Term Disability Policy and a Group Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance Policy.

The long term disability plan stated, in essence, Fier was entitled to payments upon the occurrence of disability if he earned less than 80% of what he had before the accident.  Also, the policy payments terminated if he starting making over 80% of what he had before the accident.  The group life and accidental death and dismemberment policy will be discussed in more detail below.

After five years with the company, Mr. Fier was shot in the throat during a hunting accident.  The individual who shot Fier on that hunting trip (in the great state of Utah) was evidently intoxicated.  The accident left Fier a quadriplegic for life.

Mr. Fier was then offered a position at the same company that was designed specifically to fit his new disability.  The company continued to pay Fier the same amount as it had before the accident.  However, after four more years, the company assigned Fier to a new position and lowered his salary by $20,000 annually.  Mr. Fier then filed a claim under his long term disability policy.  To read this article excerpted above, please access AdvisorFYI

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