An Imaginary Conversation
Prof. Bill Long 2/23/05
On the Practical Utility of Knowing Insurance Law
The following conversation is, as you will soon discover, completely imaginary. But it has at least one virtue: if you don't know what to do with your law degree, you might try to parley it into writing for soap operas. Imagine the following scene:
Scene: A lavishly-appointed hotel room, with Gail and Fabbrio sitting next to each other on the couch. Gail is married to Jim. While all outsiders think that Gail and Jim's marriage is fabulous, Gail knows that it is crumbling. She has begun to see Fabbrio, her personal trainer, for weekly "trysts" at this hotel room. They are deeply in "love/lust" with each other. Gail is an attractive woman in her mid-30s while Fabbrio is a stud, 6'1" and 230 pounds of solid muscle, with washboard abs, shoulders that Delta Airlines woud like to copy for their wing design and rippling biceps that remind one of the lapping waters on the beaches near his Sicilian homeland.
Fabbrio is a wonderful example of the truism that when the Lord gives gifts to his creatures, he doesn't endow any one with all the gifts (i.e., Fabbrio is sort of dumb). The following is their conversation on that fateful day.
Gail: Oh Fabbrio, you are so fabrulous. Every time our eyes meet, I am swept away. You bring me something that my rich husband Jim never could. Oh Fabbrio, your pecs, your abs (she sighs).
Fabbrio: I love you too, my gallena. I want you to come live with me in my native land, where there will be oceans of delight between us. But, there is only one problem. Your husband Jim. He is getting in the way. Do you happen to have an insurance policy on him?
Gail (with a curious look coming over her face): Yes, my dear. We took out a life insurance policy on Jim's life a few years ago. And his company has one on him too. They call it a "key man" policy, whatever that means, even though he doesn't carry around many keys. Our policy is for $1,000,000 on Tom's life. He is such a dear. (Under her breath...) Oh, Fabbrio, your quads, your abs....
Fabbrio: I have a way, my dear, that we could not only catch the next Air Italia to Rome but could do so with $1,000,000 in our pockets.
Gail: What might that be, my v-chip?
Fabbrio: You see, I can arrange it that Jim meet with an accident, my dear. Let's say that he comes down to have a personal training session with me at Mold's Gym, where I work. I could show him about bench pressing, and inadvertently (a word I don't know) place 600 pounds on the bar and then, while spotting him, drop the bar on poor Jim. He won't feel a thing. Then, you would call the insurance company and they will send you the check for $1,000,000 and we will be off to Sicily, like two birds in the sky. Oh my Gail, who could resist you?
Gail (turning serious): But Fabbrio, don't you know that we are no longer a common law jurisdiction when it comes to killing and insurance policies? Don't you follow the work of our legislature, Fabbrio? In the last session they enacted a "slayer's statute," so called because it prevents a beneficiary who is complicit in the murder or manslaughter, or even the criminally negligent homicide of an insured person to profit from his death by receiving the proceeds of the insurance policy. You see, in our jurisdiction, which is favorable to the named insured, even the finding of civil liability, which you might know carries with it only a finding of preponderance of the evidence would disallow taking of the proceeds even absent a conviction for these crimes.
Fabbrio (interrupting): Huh?
Gail: You see, Fabbrio (ah, your pecs, your abs), if we were just under a common law regime we might be able to get out of this one, since usually there is the need for a finding of intentional killling or "felonious" killing, as much of the case law holds, but we are under that darned slayer's statute. It even has a criminally negligent prong to it. Why didn't I think of this when we left Nebraska?
Fabbrio (looking totally befuddled): Huh?
Gail: Don't you understand me, my dear?
Fabbrio: I understand everything until you said "But Fabbrio." We make it look like an accident. That is all I know. Then we get the money and fly away. What is the matter, my dear?
Gail: I am so totally confused now. My heart takes me one direction and my head another. I want you Fabbrio but I can't do this to my dear husband.
Sappy organ music plays. A tear drops down Gail's cheek. Fabbrio seems lost. She seems bereft. A voice over comes:
"Join us for the next episode of 'Jim-nasties', the Soap Opera that shows the devious plans of Gail and Fabbrio as they try to hide their affair from Jim and do him in at the same time..."
Copyright © 2004-2007 William R. Long