There really is no other way to begin this blog post than with the expected and obvious: the Rolling Stones have recently learned that “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Or perhaps noting that they “(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” would be apropos, as well. But we digress. . . . According to various media outlets, including the Chicago Sun Times, the iconic band’s recent insurance claim—a $12.7 million claim—was denied by insurance underwriters. The Stones submitted the claim for reimbursement for concerts they were forced to cancel in Australia and New Zealand after lead singer’s Mick Jagger’s girlfriend L’Wren Scott committed suicide in March of this year.
Last month, the underwriters petitioned the federal court in Utah, Scott’s native state, to permit them to gather testimony and documents from Scott’s brother. A federal judge granted the request a week later. After the underwriters’ denied the claim, the Stones filed suit in the friendly confines of London. Here is the crux of the issue: The $23.9 million insurance policy issued to the band purported to provide coverage for the possibility of concerts being canceled due to the death of the band’s family members. Jagger and Scott’s lack of a legal union was not the reason for the insurance underwriters’ denial—indeed, Scott was apparently covered under the policy as Jagger’s longtime girlfriend. Rather, the insurance underwriters denied coverage based on their contention that Scott suffered from a pre-existing medical and/or mental condition that voided coverage for her death under the policy. The insurance company is also questioning Jagger’s claim that because of his depression following her death, he was advised by doctors not to perform for at least a month thereafter.
We here at Abnormal Use are somewhat surprised that it was the pre-existing condition issue which was the underwriters’ basis for denial and are curious as to whether the policy failed to include a suicide exclusion or intentional act exclusion. In any event, it seems clear the band will not give up its fight easily—in fact, we can envision the Stones’ singing “Start Me Up” upon receiving news of the underwriters’ decision and subsequent lawsuit. We will certainly follow up on the claim, the policy language and the underwriters’ legal reasoning as the case progresses. In the meantime, we invite our readers to “Shine A Light” on the underwriters’ denial and insight or predictions regarding the case as it moves forward.