Voya (f/k/a Aetna) COI Life Insurance
Voya COI Life Insurance Class Action
Case No. 16-cv-6399

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Expand/Collapse All
  • The Notice explains that a Court “certified” a Class consisting of owners of all universal life (including variable universal life) insurance policies issued by Aetna that were subject to the COI rate increase announced in 2016. If this describes you, you may choose to stay in the lawsuit, or exclude yourself from it. The deadline to exclude yourself from the Class passed on July 29, 2019.

    Judge P. Kevin Castel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is overseeing this lawsuit, known as Hanks v. The Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York (“Lincoln”) and Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, formerly known as Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Company, Case No. 16-cv-6399 (S.D.N.Y.), and has determined that the breach of contract claim against Voya can proceed as a class action.

  • The class action lawsuit alleges that Voya breached its contracts with certain policy owners. In May 2016, policyholders were issued letters announcing that their insurance policies would be subject to cost of insurance (“COI”) rate increases, and Plaintiff asserts those COI rate increases violated the terms of the policyholders’ contracts, and that Plaintiff and members of the Class have been damaged, as a result. Voya denies Plaintiff’s claims and asserts multiple defenses, including that Voya’s challenged actions are lawful, justified, and have not harmed Plaintiff or caused any damages.

    On March 13, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Plaintiff’s motion for class certification for breach of contract against Voya. The Court also denied class certification of unjust enrichment against Lincoln, which, as a result, is not part of this class action.

    The Court’s order certifying the Class does not predict or guarantee that Class Members will receive any money or benefits; that will be decided later. In certifying this lawsuit as a class action, the Court has made no decision as to the merits of the Plaintiff’s legal claims or Voya’s defenses.

  • All owners of universal life (including variable universal life) insurance policies issued by Aetna Life and Annuity Company (“Aetna”) that were subject to the cost of insurance rate increase announced in 2016 are affected by the lawsuit. The marketing names for each of those policies are Aetna Enhanced UL, Revised Aetna Enhanced UL, Select UL, Revised Select UL, Universal Life 2, 83, 84, 85/86, 87, 89, Aetna Vest I & II, Aetna Vest Plus, Life Partners, Life Partners II, Estate Protector, Estate Protector 2/3, and AetnaVest Estate Protector I & II.

  • In a class action, one person called a “Class Representative” sues on behalf of all individuals who have a similar claim. Here, Plaintiff Helen Hanks represents other eligible Aetna life insurance policy owners and together they are called the “Class” or “Class Members.” The person who sued is called the “Plaintiff”; a party being sued, such as Voya, is called a “Defendant”.

    Any judgment in this case will resolve the issues for all Class Members, except for those who excluded themselves from the Class. Class Members might receive money and other benefits if they stay in the Class, if the Class prevails on the merits, or Class Members might receive nothing if they stay in the Class and Voya prevails on the merits.

  • The Court decided that the breach of contract claim against Voya in this lawsuit can proceed as a class action because, at this point of the lawsuit, it meets the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which governs class actions in federal court. The Court found that:

    • There are numerous Class Members whose interests will be affected by this lawsuit;
    • There are legal questions and facts that are common to each of them;
    • The Class Representative’s claims are typical of the claims of the rest of the Class;
    • The Class Representative and the lawyers representing the Class will fairly and adequately represent the interests of the Class;
    • A class action would be a fair, efficient and superior way to resolve this lawsuit;
    • The common legal questions and facts predominate over questions that affect only individual Class Members; and
    • The Class is ascertainable because it is defined by identifiable objective criteria.

    For more information, visit the Important Documents page.

  • The Class consists of all owners of universal life (including variable universal life) insurance policies issued by Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Company, now known as Voya, that were subject to the cost of insurance increase announced in 2016.

  • Yes. Excluded from the Class are Defendants Voya and Lincoln, their officers and directors, members of their immediate families, and the heirs, successors or assigns of any of the foregoing.

  • By doing nothing, you will remain in the Class. If you remain in the Class and Plaintiff obtains money or other value from this lawsuit—either as a result of any ruling, trial or Court approved settlement—you may receive a payment, if you are entitled to one. Keep in mind that if you do nothing now, regardless of whether Plaintiff wins or loses, you will be legally bound by all Court orders and judgments made in this class action and you will not be able to maintain a separate lawsuit against Voya for the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit.

  • If you’re still not sure whether you are included in the Class, please call the Notice Administrator toll-free 1-833-759-2984, or write to: Voya (f/k/a Aetna) COI Life Insurance Notice Administrator, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91208, Seattle, WA 98111.

  • If you excluded yourself (or “opt-outed”) from the Class, you will not receive any distribution that may result from a judgment or settlement favorable to Plaintiff. If you excluded yourself, you will also not be legally bound by the Court’s orders and judgments in this class action. You may sue or continue to sue Voya for the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit, now or in the future. If you choose to pursue your own lawsuit against Voya, you may hire a lawyer at your own expense to prove your alleged claims. The deadline to exclude yourself from the Class passed on July 29, 2019.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself passed on July 29, 2019.

    IF YOU DID NOT EXCLUDE YOURSELF BY THE DEADLINE ABOVE, YOU WILL REMAIN PART OF THE CLASS AND BE BOUND BY THE ORDERS OF THE COURT IN THIS LAWSUIT.

  • Yes. The Court has appointed the following lawyers as “Class Counsel.”

     

    Steven G. Sklaver
    Nicholas N. Spear
    Michael Gervais
    SUSMAN GODFREY LLP
    1900 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1400
    Los Angeles, CA 90067-6029
    ssklaver@susmangodfrey.com
    nspear@susmangodfrey.com
    mgervais@susmangodfrey.com
    Telephone: 310-789-3100

    Seth Ard
    Ryan Kirkpatrick
    SUSMAN GODFREY LLP
    1301 Avenue of the Americas, 32nd Floor
    New York, NY 10019
    sard@susmangodfrey.com
    rkirkpatrick@susmangodfrey.com
    Telephone: 212-336-8330

  • Class Counsel will represent your interests in presenting the claims against Voya. You will not be personally responsible for Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees or costs, except to the extent that the Court may approve or award any such fees and costs to Class Counsel which would be paid out of the recovery in this action, if any.

  • If you stay in the Class, you do not need to hire your own lawyer to pursue the claims against Voya because Class Counsel is working on behalf of the Class. However, if you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense and cost.

  • Yes. Key Dates and Important Documents related to the lawsuit can be found by clicking the links. For additional assistance, contact the Notice Administrator by calling, toll-free, 1-833-759-2984 or write to: Voya (f/k/a Aetna) COI Life Insurance Notice Administrator, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91208, Seattle, WA 98111.

ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE CONCERNING THIS MATTER, PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT NOR VOYA.
ALL QUESTIONS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE NOTICE ADMINISTRATOR OR CLASS COUNSEL.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Voya (f/k/a Aetna) COI Life Insurance Notice Administrator
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91208
Seattle, WA 98111