When people plan a vacation the last thing they think about is dying. Unfortunately, people die while traveling more often than you would think. Between October 2012 and June 2015, there were 10,545 deaths of American citizens in foreign countries, according to research done by Time magazine.
When an insured dies outside of the United States, it can be a very challenging ordeal for many reasons. After you get beyond the issue of getting the body home. You will be confronted with a very intense life insurance investigation. Foreign death claims and proving death are some of the most challenging
Before a life insurance claim is paid the insurer requires proof of the insured’s death. Some of the most difficult life insurance claim investigations are foreign death claims and proving death. In the case of a foreign death, The insurance company typically hires an outside third-party to verify sources and, if necessary, investigate certain aspects of the life insurance claim. Since other countries do not follow the same practices and procedures as the United States this can result in long delays and even denial of the claim.
The documents that help verify a death are death certificates, medical reports, funeral records, and autopsy reports. But in the case of foreign death claims, these documents are often not enough proof for the insurer to pay the claim.
Many documents are unique to the death procedures in the US. In one of the common documents requested in the US is a copy of the obituary from a newspaper, publishing deaths is not a common practice in every country. Many Life Insurance
companies demand an autopsy if the death is accidental, but there are countries such as Saudi Arabia it is standard practice to embalm the body. Once embalming is done there is no chance for an autopsy.
The country of Mexico has a practice of allowing a medical examiner to sign-off on a death either by viewing the body or by reviewing the deceased’s medical records, this is an unacceptable practice by US standards.
In Sierra Leone, death certificates can be hand written. This is implausible in the United States. But, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in Africa and the process of a computer generated death certificate stored electronically, (as is standard in the United States) in a central database, isn’t plausible.
In the United States it’s common for a medical examiner to take a photo of the cadaver. Insurers use such photos to verify proof of death. In a country like Mexico it’s unheard of and considered an invasion of privacy to photograph a cadaver.
Every country has its own unique procedures for recording a death and Insurance Companies use these differences to deny claims. The last thing you want to do is research how your dream vacation destination would record your death. What you can do is store this information and pray you never need it. Should you or a family member or friend find yourself in this terrible situation, you will then have to research the customs and laws for the country where the death occurred and then contact the life insurance company immediately to find out exactly how to proceed, or call the Life Insurance Claim experts at Expert Settlement Solutions (570)213-5605 and have your claim settled with minimal delay.