Frank N. Darras Advises Athletes To Play It Safe With Loss Of Value Insurance
There is no better time than right now for college sports. Yet as we speculate who the top draft picks are and who will have a winning March Madness bracket, we should be asking something else: how much do these chosen athletes stand to lose?
“Without a bulletproof loss of value insurance policy, the answer could be millions,” says Frank N. Darras, America’s disability lawyer to the pros. “Yet most athletes must forgo it, and even the ones who purchased are still waiting for their payday.”
Former USC football players Marqise Lee and Morgan Breslin made recent headlines after filing suit against Lloyd’s of London for denial of their multimillion-dollar loss of value insurance claims. Lloyd’s allegedly denied these claims because the athletes submitted misleading or misrepresented pertinent health information.
Colleges, universities, athletes and free agents are currently deciding whether to purchase these exact policies. Now, two notable athletes are embroiled in litigation to collect on the insurance benefits they paid rich premiums for. This situation must get those same college, agents and athletes thinking, “Why bother?”
We bother because the move by Lloyd’s is actually a tried and true insurance claim denial strategy. It will be a few years before we see a decision in these lawsuits, but those decisions shouldn’t have any bearing on how athletes evaluate permanent total disability or loss of value insurance today or in the future.
There are only a few factors to actually consider:
1. Am I projected to be a first to third round draftee in my sport?
2. Is it possible I’ll get injured, chronically ill or permanently disabled?
3. Is it possible that injury or illness might cause my projected draft slot position to drop?
4. Could that drop in draft position result in a significantly smaller signing bonus and pro contract?
5. If I’m a free agent, what would I do if a permanent total disability ended my career?
An athlete who answers “yes” to any of these questions and wants to protect his or her projected earnings should strongly consider permanent total disability coverage and/or loss of value insurance, Darras says.
Marqise Lee’s policy protected him against an injury that resulted in a signed NFL contract worth less than $9.6 million. Lee suffered a knee injury, fell to the second round, and signed a four-year deal with the Jaguars worth $5.17 million. Lee could recover as much as $5 million if his lawsuit is successful.
Breslin, also a projected top NFL pick, went undrafted and signed a free-agent contract with the 49ers. His loss of value policy offered coverage up to $1 million and if successful, he could collect as much as $750,000.
“We don’t know if Lee or Breslin actually misrepresented or fraudulently misstated pertinent facts on their policy applications,” Darras says. ‘But I often see sloppy loss of value and career-ending permanent disability policy applications done by a broker, financial planner or agent-or for the college player, the college or university-who misunderstands, mishears or misinterprets what is being asked for.”
That’s why it matters less what happens in the Lee and Breslin cases and more about putting on a game face when applying or submitting a high value disability claim. Athletes who either have or are considering permanent total disability coverage and/or loss of value insurance should instead focus on ensuring their own claims are thoroughly bulletproofed, completely vetted and expert-approved.
Darras, who recently launched a sports-only Twitter account, offers tips on what athletes can expect to see as the primary reason for a denied loss of value or career-ending disability claim, as well as how to sidestep real trouble. To learn more about these valuable tips, visit theDarrasLaw blog.
DarrasLaw is the nation’s top disability insurance litigation firm. Led by Frank N. Darras, the firm reviews more than 2,500 claims a month from all across America. With its 100 years of insurance and hard-fought litigation experience, DarrasLaw has seen, evaluated, litigated, and resolved more disability and long-term care cases than any disability and long-term care litigation firm in the United States.
The law firm is literally in a disability league of their own, representing clients of all backgrounds, from professional athletes to dockworkers to CEOs. DarrasLaw operates under a “pay it forward” philosophy and offers free insurance consultations, free policy analysis and free claim advice and help. DarrasLaw has recovered nearly $1 billion in wrongfully denied insurance benefits and holds Big Insurance companies accountable.