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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

My father had life insurance through his employer and now has been terminated because of his illness and can no longer work. We were unaware of the 30-day period we had to send paperwork in saying we still wanted life insurance, and now that period has passed. What can we do?

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do at this point if your father received notice regarding his life insurance in his termination packet of paperwork and failed to act on it.

As your father has now found out, typically one can convert a group life insurance policy to an individual permanent life insurance policy if the person is no longer eligible for the group policy (for reasons such as termination). This type of conversion is without evidence of insurability (medical exam or questions).

To exercise what some refer to as a “conversion privilege,” you must submit conversion paperwork and the first premium payment within 31 days.  If you do not apply during this 31-day period, then the option normally is no longer available to you.

The only recourse you may have is if the employer or life insurance provider was required to notify your father of his life insurance conversion rights and failed to do so.  State laws vary, so contact your state’s insurance department to find out about your specific state’s notification laws if this type of issue caused him to miss the deadline.

Last updated: May. 20, 2014