Widow battles for life insurance payout

Seven On Your Side
September 6, 2013 8:31:55 PM PDT
Anguish and anger are what one Great Neck widow is grappling with.

Anguish over the death of the love of her life, and anger toward the life insurance she says terminated his life insurance policy without any notification.

"I feel a void. There's a void not only in my life but obviously in our children's lives," said Andrea Brenner, widow.

Andrea Brenner is still grieving nearly a year after her former high school sweetheart, Neil, lost his 16 month battle with brain cancer.

"He was the love of my life," Brenner said.

"How do you think Neil would feel about what you're going through?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"I think he would feel terrible," Brenner said.

Andrea's talking about her own battle - fighting with her husband's life insurance company, Cigna.

She says she's owed a $50,000 pay out.

But Cigna says her husband's insurance lapsed and she's owed nothing.

"On top of my grief, I have to be dealing with this insurance company. So it's left me frustrated and angry," Brenner said.

Neil Brenner's Cigna life insurance was paid as part of his job's benefits.

But in early 2012, cancer forced him to take medical leave.

"Mentally, he had no communication skills. He totally lost the ability to speak," Brenner said.

Andrea says she was never told she had to start paying Cigna premiums. So just weeks before Neil's death, the policy lapsed.

"And what was your reaction?" Pineda asked.

"I was like, 'Really? How could this be?'" Brenner said.

Andrea says she appealed to Cigna and even hired an attorney.

"How frustrated are you with this whole process?" Pineda asked.

"I'm extremely frustrated," Brenner said.

So months ago, 7 On Your Side took up the fight, making dozens of calls and emails to Cigna.

And finally, the insurance giant took a second look.

"So we have some good news?" Pineda said.

"Yes, we have great news," Brenner said.

There it was, a full payout from Cigna, $50,000 plus interest.

Because of privacy rules, Cigna couldn't comment on the case.

"I do feel that it's closure. It's kind of bitter sweet," Brenner said.

Andrea says she'll use the money to take care of Neil's 96-year-old dad.