The wife of a recently deceased man claims his life insurance company refuses to pay her $50,000 in policy benefits she should have received following his death.

Terry L. Kowalski filed a lawsuit Jan. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Aetna Life Insurance Company.

In her complaint, Terry Kowalski claims her husband, Craig Kowalski, had a life insurance policy through his employer, Owens Corning, where he had worked since 1980. The life insurance policy was issued by Aetna, according to the complaint.

Craig and Terry Kowalski got married in 2004 and shortly thereafter Craig Kowalski named Terry Kowalski as a beneficiary on the Aetna policy, the suit states.

On Aug. 31, Craig Kowalski died. Following her husband's passing, Terry Kowalski attempted to claim the benefits from his Aetna policy, the complaint says.

Despite multiple phone calls, however, Terry Kowalski claims she was never able to recover the $50,000 worth of benefits she is owed.

Aetna allegedly breached its contract with Terry Kowalski by failing to pay her Craig Kowalski's insurance benefits and by denying her claim, according to the complaint.

Because of Aetna's refusal to pay Craig Kowalski's life insurance policy, Terry Kowalski claims she lost out on $50,000 and has been forced to hire an attorney, the suit states.

In her two-count complaint, Terry Kowalski seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Stephen C. Buser of the Law Office of Stephen C. Buser in Columbia will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-25.

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