By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Nine north Mississippi residents claim an Illinois-based insurance company tricked them into turning old policies into new ones, which cost them cash value, policy riders and lower death benefits.
They also say Modern Woodmen of America is still doing the same to other customers.
The nine – including seven from Northeast Mississippi – filed suit this week in federal court, insisting the insurance company conspired to improve profits by hurting them and continues to train its agents to trick “orphan” policyholders, who are existing policyholders without an assigned agent.
Woodman has not responded to the allegations.
Plaintiffs are Larry R. Bonds of Burnsville, Thomas C. Morrison and Joyce P. Morrison of Ripley, Margie P. Renick of Tupelo, Larry D. Cobb and Janice Cobb of New Albany, Steven R. Cook of Hickory Flat on behalf of his deceased wife Mary Cook, and Elsie P. Shaw and Herman W. Shaw of Coffeeville.
They’re suing Woodmen, three of its executives and a new-applications processing coordinator, and asking for actual and treble punitive damages, and costs plus interest.
They’re also seeking to gain class-action status and be joined by anyone else who claims similar grievances against Woodmen.
The 46-page complaint also claims the nine did not discover their “injury” until 2012, although they say the alleged illegal activity started at least in 2005.
They say a Woodmen whistleblower provided information to them as the basis of their claims, including mail/wire fraud and money laundering.