ETHICS Donna and Carl Nichols

ETHICS Donna and Carl Nichols each bought term life insurance from Prudential Insurance Company of America. These policies contained a provision stating that if the insured became disabled, the premiums did not have to be paid and the policy would still stay in effect. This term is called a waiver of premium. Carl became totally disabled, and his premiums were waived. Some years later, two Prudential sales managers convinced the Nicholses to convert their term life insurance policies into whole life policies. They promised that, once Carl made the conversion, he would only have to pay premiums on the new policy for a sixmonth waiting period. They even wrote “WP to be included in this policy” on the application form. “WP” stood for waiver of premium benefit. Only after the new policy was issued did the Nicholses learn that Prudential would not waive the premium. The Nicholses had exchanged a policy on which they owed nothing further for a policy on which they now had to pay premiums that they could not afford. Do the Nicholses have a claim against Prudential? Regardless of the legal outcome, did Prudential have an ethical obligation to the Nicholses?

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