By Anne Drewa | Global News
A civil lawsuit has been filed in B.C. Supreme Court against a life insurance company which has denied the claim of a deceased veteran B.C. paramedic who co-owned Executive Air Ambulance.
“It’s a very bad denial,” said personal injury lawyer Scott Stanley of Murphy Battista LLP.
For close to 30 years, Matthew Cochlin worked for the BC Ambulance Service as part of the Infant Transport Team, transporting B.C.’s most critically ill babies.
He also co-owned Executive Air Ambulance — a full service air ambulance company.
In August 2016, Cochlin was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The father of four lost his battle with cancer six months later on December 22, 2016.
He was 54 years old.
“‘It’s going to be OK.’ He died with me saying that,” said his spouse Tania Liemareff.
Months after Cochlin’s death, Liemareff said the life insurance claim was denied.
“You get your life set up the way it’s supposed to be and for it to play out this way, it’s not right,” she said.
Cochlin was a smoker and had a family history of cancer, both of which he disclosed to his life insurance provider — The Co-operators.
He was approved for coverage and paid high premiums, just under $4,000 yearly.
However, after Cochlin’s death, The Co-operators stated it had reviewed Cochlin’s medical records as well as his responses to health questions when he applied for his life insurance coverage.
The life insurance company accused Cochlin of failing to disclose facts that were material to the insurance risk in his telephone interview at the time of application which included seeking medical attention for workplace stress and sleep apnea.
In a statement to Global News, The Co-operators said:
“After a very thorough and careful review, it was determined that Mr. Cochlin did not disclose known facts that affected his insurance risk. For this reason, the policy was deemed void and a refund was issued for the premiums paid.” — Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators.
“The deceased disclosed quite candidly that he was a smoker and paid presumably the highest premiums because of that. It just doesn’t seem logical,” he said.
Stanley also alleged that, had The Co-operators been aware of Cochlin’s concerns over sleep apnea and work related stress, the life insurance company would have still insured Cochlin at the same premium.
“He was a snorer and he was investigated for that. It was never determined that he had sleep apnea. Even if he did and he had it and he didn’t disclose it, I still say that makes no difference. If you say I’m a smoker and I’m prepared to pay the most expensive insurance so I can have it, it shouldn’t make a difference like they say it should,” Stanley said.
Liemareff said all she can do now is wait patiently to see what the courts decide.
“He dedicated his whole being to making other people’s lives better and now when his kids need something back, it’s so heartbreaking,” she said.