The Hartford–Warning, Jesus said “Defraud Not”

I was informed by letter from The Hartford (Lexington, KY) in October 2012 that they sought the executor of my deceased (2007) father’s estate.

That they reached me shows they have a data base that must be correct.

Correct, because (1) I am the oldest son of my father; (2) I am the designated Trustee of my parents’ family Trust; (3) I was able to promptly furnish by their request the data they requested regarding date of birth and death; (4) I was able to furnish the requested original Death Certificate; (5) I furnished the Trust documents demonstrating I am the Trustee of my parents’ Trust.

But upon further dealing with them, I find they violate good sense and the requirements of justice egregiously.

They required I furnish “letters testamentary” to prove I was the executor of my deceased father’s estate. Far as I am able to determine, this requirement is impossible to meet. Since my parents’ assets were all included in the Family Trust, and I am the designated Trustee, I was never appointed by a probate court to be the executor of my parents’ estate.

But THE HARTFORD told me that a Trustee of a Family Trust could not be the beneficiary of an annuity. I told them nonsense. Other insurance firms I have been privileged to have contact with in conjunction with my parents’ trust do not have that requirement, so their requirement is arbitrary and unjust.

Therefore, I firmly suggest that no Christian who becomes aware of the facts should ever have dealings with this company. And Christian or not, I suggest whenever possible this company should be avoided.

My Dad was very astute financially. When I began my teaching career with a salary of less than $6000 a year, my salary was larger than his. Yet he amassed a small fortune, in size just short of one million dollars, I believe. My brother and I elected to have his money spent for the care of our mother and father until their natural death.

My father purchased an Annuity Contract from The Hartford in 2002. It paid him interest earnings annually at a good rate of return for the time.

But through its requirements The Hartford has made it impossible for the designated and lawful beneficiary or beneficiaries to redeem their proper and lawful claim.

This is unjust. In terms of what Jesus taught in Mark 10:19, this violates His command to “Defraud Not.”

Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

The Hartford, through its representatives or employees, have rejected my repeatedly submitted claim for a different reason each time. It is as though they keep changing the requirements. They would surely argue otherwise.

After submitting the requested documents (an original death certificate among them), I spoke to them on the telephone. Most of their telephone people are very gracious and informed and helpful, but not all. First, it was suggested (incorrectly, it turned out), that a copy of the death certificate would be sufficient. Then it was made known to me that an original was required. I spent the money and obtained one. The Hartford representatives informed me that at my request they would return the original death certificate to me. I notified them on December 27, 2012 and other times previously that I wished to have the original death certificate returned to me.

I also included a letter clipped to the death certificate requesting that it be returned to me.

Either very late last week or very early this week I received a message on our answering machine from The Hartford informing me that they had just shredded the original death certificate. I think the message said that was done in accordance with their 45 day policy.

On Tuesday of this week I called them, very upset. I requested to be connected with someone who had authority to do something. For the first time ever in my several telephone contacts with this firm, the lady who took my call was very kind, stayed on the line, and connected me to the right department (Annuity Claims, I think it might have been), and the lady there cooperated and connected me with her supervisor almost immediately.

The Supervisor was most gracious, heard me out, obtained the requisite file which indeed proved what I said had transpired indeed took place, noting he had my letter right there.

I requested that they obtain for me at their expense a replacement of the original death certificate. He said he would arrange for that to be done. Time will tell if he keeps his word.

In previous calls to The Hartford, Hartford personnel would never release any information regarding the size of the annuity my father had purchased. First, I was told they would not release that information until they had the original death certificate.

I sent them the certificate by certified mail, paying for an electronic receipt to prove it was delivered and received. When I knew for sure they had it, I called again asking about the annuity account. I was flatly told by the agent I then spoke with that it was company policy that this could not be revealed. I asked to speak to his supervisor. He said that he was as high as I could go.

On Tuesday, I asked the supervisor I had reached about the amount of the annuity. He told me. It is a very modest, even small sum. I told him it ought to be obvious on the face that to require me as the beneficiary to go through all the hoops they were requesting was absurd. By right, they clearly should have simply sent the check, as other companies more reasonably did when I, as Trustee of my parents’ Family Trust, had to deal with them. The amount is so small that with care my wife and I can save that much in a month when our expenses are lighter even on my very meager income.

The Supervisor was very kind and candid. He said he was well aware, from the reports of others like me who had contacted him, that The Hartford in this regard is much harder to deal with than similar companies. He attributed that to the requirements established by their legal department, requirements he was in no position to modify.

I told him I’ve been in debates with very successful attorneys before, and won. I said, “The stipulations of your legal department are ludicrous, and impossible to meet. I will take steps almost immediately to provide your firm with adverse publicity because of the injustice of its internal regulations and procedures.”

The Supervisor said that it was certainly well within my rights to do just that. He said he would inform the proper department of my request for a replacement original death certificate. I think I recall correctly that he said he would inform the legal department of my complaint and constructive suggestion that they modify their requirements for redemption of an annuity claim of such small size as that due me. But he said it would be unlikely I would benefit from any results from that.

I told him that I have done absolutely all I can do from my end about this claim. There is nothing more I can do. He had suggested I go to the town hall and obtain a statement or document which indicated the termination of the original estate, something he called a “small estate affidavit.” I explained that since I live more than half way across the country from the requisite “town hall,” and I don’t think that city has a “town hall,” that this again was an insurmountable hurdle I cannot meet. I explained that the “estate” had been placed by the court in the hands of Miss Jan Miner, the official court-approved guardian for my parents until their death. At the time of their death, the court provided that all reverted to me as the Trustee of their family Trust. Therefore, as the Trustee of that trust, I was clearly the proper person to receive the claim.

Miss Miner has retired. Even the last attorney associated with my parents’ care let me know at the start of this year that she was now retired. I have no available contacts now to pursue the matter.

But folks caught in a bureaucracy often are not empowered to correct the wrongs and injustices they see.

I thanked the Supervisor for his time and patience. I said I trusted he realized that my anger is in no sense directed at him, but at his company. I concluded by saying there is a very famous sermon by Robert G. Lee, a famous evangelist from the South, titled “Pay Day Someday.” I said that his company and those within it responsible for injustice will definitely face that final “Pay Day.” I said those who have received the gracious benefits God offers by faith need not fear that day, but those who have not have everything to fear for all eternity.

For all who managed to read this far, I have two further points to make:

(1) Should it happen that you ever purchase life insurance or an annuity that may be intended for your heirs, BE SURE the company has a fair policy such that the designated beneficiaries of the policy will be able to meet the requirements to receive the benefit. Clearly, THE HARTFORD does NOT have such a fair policy. Knowing what I now know of them by direct experience, I advise everyone to avoid doing any business of any kind with THE HARTFORD, until they learn to establish fair and just policy.

(2) And what does all this have to do with Real Bible Study? I believe the inhabitants of pulpit and pew alike need to be better informed of what the Bible teaches regarding the matter of justice in all its varied forms and applications.

Here is a very relevant, plain text of Scripture which addresses the issue of my complaint against THE HARTFORD:

Lev 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

A careful study of the cross references for Leviticus 19:13, accessed in the manner I lately described here to all three levels in either The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, will illuminate the depth to which the Bible treats this subject, and the severe penalty God promises to levy against all who violate His commands regarding this issue.

Leviticus 19:13 clearly tells us we are not to (1) defraud thy neighbor, very likely the text pointed to by Jesus when he said “Defraud not,” as recorded in Mark 10:19; (2)we are not to retain money, whether wages or other financial benefits, rightly due others; in some settings, it means wages must be paid in full and on time. In other settings it means if a beneficiary has a valid claim, that claim must be honored promptly and in full without imposing restrictions that would prevent the benefit being received.

By failing to honor the claim, THE HARTFORD has violated God’s Law, for in effect the proper recipient has been denied, and so has been robbed of the benefit promised the original purchaser.

By failing to honor the claim, THE HARTFORD has further violated God’s Law, for though they have the money in hand, they refuse to pay it out promptly, violating the Biblical Law which requires funds “not abide all night with thee until the morning.”

And just what is the penalty God through our Lord Jesus Christ warns will be exacted of those who as a matter of course violate these principles?

Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Jesus further said,

Luk 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Using the principles Jesus enunciated in Luke 16:10, I find in my own experience that THE HARTFORD is unworthy of anyone’s trust.

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6 Responses to The Hartford–Warning, Jesus said “Defraud Not”

  1. A. Way says:

    Quote Jerry, “I will take steps almost immediately to provide your firm with adverse publicity”.

    Quote Jesus: “Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; “

  2. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    Even as we must “love our enemies,” and surely “pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you,” we are directed in Scripture to offer timely correction when we discern a fault or flaw or matter of injustice.

    Lev_19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

    To not alert another of an error is to “hate thy brother in thine heart.”

    On the back of the dormatory room door when I first arrived at my dormatory room at Bob Jones University was a placard which said, in part:

    “Griping not tolerated. Constructive suggestions made to the administration appreciated.”

    I consider what I told the supervisor at The Hartford, and what I have posted here about my experience with The Hartford, to be what the placard called “constructive suggestions.”

    I consider also that what I have posted here at Real Bible Study is in obedience to Leviticus 19:17.

    The story of my experience is not yet over. The Lord willing, once the matters are resolved with The Hartford, I will post a “follow-up,” which should serve to help all who find themselves involved with either purchasing or redeeming Annuities or other insurance products and investments.

    While the following passage surely addresses the need to properly fence in flat-roofed house-tops, surely God meant this specific example to be applied broadly to all situations involving not only personal safety, but avoidance of financial and legal pitfalls, by warning others of the danger:

    Deu 22:8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

    Paul expressed the interpretative principle when he said “Doth God care for oxen?” Of course He does. He even cares about animal safety (see Proverbs 12:10). Remarkably, He cares about sanitation for our well-being too (Deuteronomy 23:12, 13).

    1Co 9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
    1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

    Pro 12:10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

    Deu 23:12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
    Deu 23:13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

    Although these matters involving The Hartford have consumed much time, the Lord has enabled me to make progress on my project to greatly expand the number of cross references available for Real Bible Study.

    I completed my work on the book of 2 Corinthians earlier this evening.

  3. A. W. says:

    Leviticus 19:17. It is one thing to rebuke your neighbor. It is another to drag your brother through the mud for everyone to see. Tis true – by their fruits we will know them. I’m not saying the Hartford is doing right. But are you going to use force to get your way? Will you use force on anyone who you think is breaking God’s law, as you have accused the Hartford? There are many examples of the use of force to enforce church dogma. Both Christian and non-Christian. Romans 12:19

    You speak of God’s law and quote the Old Testament. Yet, you have taught that we are not under the law and even to in some cases to break the law. Interesting.

  4. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    I missed seeing your comment until now because since my son changed servers something internally has not been set right to notify me of new posts.

    You mention Romans 12:19. That is a most significant verse. It makes for a very good and instructive cross reference Bible study.

    When a company such as The Hartford will not hear to reason, and provides no avenue for redress of grievances, the only option I have left is to tell the world just what The Hartford needs to do to be a better, fairer company. I hope my experience will steer others to better companies for the same service, or alert them to be very cautious in using the services and products of The Hartford.

    You are right–I have taught that we are not under the law. But there are eternal principles behind some of the laws in the Old Testament that are valid for all time. Those principles ought to be followed, not as a matter of legalism, but as a practical matter of following God’s principles for doing justly, and living according to His will.

    I severely and very publically exposed the flaws in last year’s TurboTax software. Guess what? This year they have fully corrected the flaws I pointed out last year. I had made complaints in a non-public manner the year before, and perhaps before that, with no response. This time perhaps I got their attention so that they were much encouraged to improve their product.

    No firm likes to receive bad publicity. They need to learn that a satisfied customer tells five people, a dissatisfied customer tells ten.

    The Bible clearly teaches that we all are to respond positively to constructive suggestions. When we fail to respond correctly to justified constructive suggestions, we ought not complain too loud for the negative repercussions our improper failure to respond brings.

  5. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!
    It’s the little changes that make the largest changes.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  6. Jerry says:

    Dear Al,

    Thank you for visiting Real Bible Study. I enjoyed viewing your video about The One True God.

    I look forward to your future visits and comments.

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