Minor daughter left out of insurance proceeds, suit claims

Kelly Holleran Oct. 13, 2009, 6:15am

The administrator of the estate of a deceased insurance agent has filed suit against the company that he worked for, claiming the company conspired with the deceased man to change his life insurance policy before his death, leaving his minor daughter without any insurance proceeds.

Sindy Kubitschek claims Edward W. Smith III worked as an insurance agent for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company before his death on Dec. 26, 2003.

At the time of his death, Edward W. Smith III had a minor daughter, Lindsay Smith, who he was required through a court order to maintain a life insurance policy for, according to the complaint filed Oct. 2 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

However, Edward W. Smith III and Shelter Insurance modified the policy, with a face amount of $225,000, and as a result Lindsay Smith has received no insurance proceeds after her father's death, the suit states.

After Edward W. Smith III's death, Shelter Insurance went into his leased office space at 128 W. State Street in O'Fallon, which he had completely furnished with tables, chairs, desks, file cabinets and office equipment, the complaint says. Shelter Insurance removed all of Edward W. Smith III's personal property from the office, Kubitschek claims.

In addition, the company took all of Edward W. Smith III's papers and documents, which recorded how much Edward W. Smith III was to be compensated for work he performed before his death, according to the complaint. However, the company only issued two checks for $1,847.32 and $181.86 to Edward W. Smith III's adult daughter, Leah R. Smith, the suit states.

Kubitschek claims Edward W. Smith III had performed more work before his death that Shelter Mutual did not compensate him for.

Since then, Shelter Insurance destroyed the records that would reveal how much money Edward W. Smith III is due, the complaint says.

It was not until March 31 that Kubitschek was appointed administrator of Edward W. Smith III's estate, which is why she has not filed suit until now.

In the three-count complaint, Kubitschek is seeking a judgment of more than $250,000. She is also seeking a detailed description of Edward W. Smith III's book of business at the time of his death, the commission and compensation schedule that applied at the time of his death, the amount of income earned by Edward W. Smiths III's book of business since his death and the amount of money Edward W. Smith earned while working at Shelter Insurance.

Kevin J. Kubitschek of Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-528.

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