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September 23, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Golf pro Harvey Lannak claims insurer mis-scored him as a smoker

Westchester golf pro Harvey Lannak claims he was overcharged on a life insurance policy that classified him as a smoker for 20 years, though he has never smoked.

Lannak, of White Plains, sued New York Life Insurance Co. and Mercer Health & Benefits Administration, both of Manhattan, last month in Westchester Supreme Court for $25,000.

Mercer, the company that administers the life insurance policy, “does not comment on pending litigation,” spokesman Bruce Lee stated in an email.

Lannak has been a member of the Professional Golfers’ Association since 1973 and, according to his LinkedIn profile, has worked at Westchester Country Club since 1998.

In 1999 he bought a $250,000 life insurance policy through the PGA.

Last year, he discovered he had been classified as a smoker and had been overpaying the semiannual contributions. This year, the difference for smokers is an extra $1,260.

Lannak claims that Mercer told him that “smoker” is the default classification unless the insured individual says otherwise. He then notified the company in writing that he has never smoked, and he asked for a refund.

The insurance policy, according to the complaint, provides for a “fair adjustment of remittances” to correct such errors.

Mercer allegedly advised Lannak in January that it would calculate the overpayment and either deduct the amount from future payments or make a cash refund. He was told, the complaint states, that he was in a grace period and should wait for the calculation before making the January semiannual payment.

In February, Mercer allegedly informed him by letter that the grace period had expired and his insurance coverage was terminated.

Lannak went ahead and paid the semiannual fee to ensure coverage, and he continued to press for reimbursement.

Last month, Mercer allegedly offered a refund for one semiannual payment, or $630.

Lannak accuses Mercer and New York Life of breach of policy, enrichment, and unfair and deceptive conduct. He is demanding a credit or refund of at least $25,000.

He is represented by Philip M. Halpern of Collier Halpern & Newberg LLP of White Plains.