Navy man's widow sues insurance giant for his full death benefits

Posted: May 01, 2013

WHEN NAVY PETTY Officer Jeffrey Ferren died of a heart condition last year, his widow, Gabriella Kubinyi, believed she would at least be taken care of financially.

That's because as a member of the U.S. armed forces, Ferren, 31, of Camden, had life insurance through Prudential Insurance Co.

But Kubinyi's grief at losing her husband in April 2012 was only compounded when the Newark, N.J., insurance giant told her that she would not be receiving his full $400,000 death benefit.

The insurer said a clerical error had resulted in the wrong amount being deducted from her husband's paychecks, therefore she would not get the full benefit amount, according to attorney Aaron J. Freiwald, who yesterday filed a lawsuit against Prudential in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

"Prudential was on notice and had received all the correct forms to show that Petty Officer Ferren had elected $400,000 in life insurance," Freiwald said. "This company's outrageous conduct dishonors this Navy man who dedicated his life to service and has caused terrible financial harm to his widow."

Attempts to reach Bob DeFillippo, Prudential's chief communications officer, for comment were not successful.

The company has an exclusive contract with the federal government to provide life-insurance benefits to active servicemen and women and to veterans.

Freiwald, of Center City, said his client and her late husband deserve better treatment.

A 2009 evaluation described Ferren as "an outstanding petty officer with unlimited potential." He was cited as having "superior performance" in one commendation, while another credited him with saving the Navy more than $100,000 in contractor fees and repair-part costs, the attorney said.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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