SW Legal Educational Publishing

No Duty to Reveal Medical Test Results to Life Insurance Applicant
Description Appeals court affirmed dismissal of a case against an insurer brought by the widow of a man who applied for life insurance but was rejected on the basis of the physical tests given as part of the application. Applicant died soon after failing the physical, but insurer had no duty to disclose test results to applicant.
Topic Insurance
Key Words Negligence; Duty to Disclose; Medical Tests
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Petrosky sought a $500,000 life insurance policy from US Life. He stated on the application that he did not smoke. US Life did a blood, urine and electrocardiogram test and rejected the application, contending that the chemistry report showed that he did smoke. Soon after, Petrosky died of a heart attack. His widow sued US Life, contending it has a duty to reveal to the applicant the findings of the electrocardiogram test, which should have revealed a heart problem. The trial court dismissed the suit, holding that the insurer had no duty to disclose the test results to the applicant. Petrosky's widow appealed.
Decision Affirmed. There is no evidence "that Petrosky was induced to act or refrain from acting in monitoring his health in reliance upon his application for insurance, so there is no basis to argue that Petrosky relied on US Life to so anything other than perform the limited function of a life insurance business, i.e., consider applications for life insurance and possibly extend life insurance upon acceptance of such applications." The relationship of the parties "was not such that Petrosky had the right to rely upon US Life to provide information regarding his health status."
Citation Petrosky v. Brasner, 695NYS.2d 281 (Sup. Ct., NY, 1999)

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