Monday, June 15, 2020

No. 377: Long-Term Care Insurance—A Further Update on the Skochin Class Action Lawsuit Against Genworth

No. 371 (May 13, 2020) includes an update on a class action lawsuit against Genworth Financial, Inc. (Genworth) relating to premium increases on long-term care (LTC) insurance policies. Here I provide a further update on the case. (See Skochin v. Genworth, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Case No. 3:19-cv-49.)

Rejection of the Indiana Effort
As reported in No. 371, the Indiana Department of Insurance filed a motion to intervene for the purpose of filing a motion for a temporary stay of the proceedings because of the pandemic. On June 3, 2020, the judge issued a memorandum opinion in which he granted the motion to intervene but denied the motion for a temporary stay. An important reason for the denial of the motion for a temporary stay was the fact that Indiana was the only state to seek a temporary stay. The memorandum opinion is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post.

Motion for Attorney Fees
On May 25, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for entry of an award of attorney fees and expenses. They also filed five declarations in support of the motion. They sought
attorneys' fees in the amount of $2,000,000 relating to the injunctive relief achieved for the Settlement Class, and an additional contingent payment of 15% of certain amounts related to Special Election Options selected by the Settlement Class, in an amount no less than $10,000,000 and no greater than $24,500,000, as well as payment of litigation expenses of $64,398.66, to be paid in accordance with the terms of the Joint Stipulation of Class Action Settlement and Release....
The above language is similar to what appeared in the stipulation I saw earlier, and which I found ambiguous. I could not tell whether the range of $10 million to $24.5 million refers to (a) attorneys' fees, or (b) 15 percent of certain amounts related to Special Election Options. I looked at the declarations and concluded that the range referred to (b) above. The motion for attorney fees and expenses is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post.

Objections by Class Members
The class consists of about 207,000 policyholders. The judge ordered the administrator to mail the class notice on April 14, 2020. The final approval hearing is set for July 10, 2020. In the above mentioned No. 371, I said seven class members had filed objections with the court. As of June 10, the number has grown to 17, distributed geographically as follows: Arizona (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (3), Georgia (1), Idaho (1), Iowa (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Texas (1), and Virginia (3). Several of the objections are in the complimentary package offered in No. 371.

General Observations
I am an Indiana resident. I was impressed by and grateful for my home state insurance department's effort to obtain a temporary stay. I thought the request was eminently reasonable, and I am disappointed that the judge denied the request. I have noted earlier that the Eastern District of Virginia has a reputation as the fastest federal civil trial court in the U.S. That may have played a role in the judge's action, but I do not know whether the action would have been different if many other state insurance regulators had made a similar request.

As for the settlement itself, I do not understand it well enough to feel comfortable expressing an opinion about its fairness. It would not surprise me, however, if the judge approves the settlement shortly after the fairness hearing.

Available Material
In No. 371, I offered a complimentary 81-page PDF containing documents relating to the case. That May 2020 Skochin package remains available.

Now I offer a complimentary 12-page PDF consisting of the judge's memorandum opinion (9 pages) and the plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees and expenses (3 pages). Send an email to and ask for the June 2020 package about Skochin v. Genworth