VFW's Motion Granted: Unseal Prudential's SGLI Records

All documents had remained sealed at Prudential's request

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor issued a ruling that grants a motion filed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) to unseal documents related to the class action lawsuit brought against the Prudential Insurance Company of America, subject to certain exceptions. The suit was filed in response to the company’s administration of the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The underlying case alleged that Prudential failed to pay death benefits to military service members, veterans and their families in the manner required by the laws governing SGLI and the Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs. That lawsuit was resolved in December 2014 in a nearly $40 million settlement.

“We’re pleased with Judge Ponsor’s ruling and now have a lot of work to do. We anxiously await the opportunity to review the documents involving this matter,” said John A. Biedrzycki Jr., VFW national commander. “We want to better understand the manner in which Prudential and the VA have been administering these programs. And through this review, we will continue to be the voice for America’s combat veterans and their families.” 

Filing the motion in June 2013, the VFW has consistently taken the position that documents filed by Prudential should be made available to the public. Yesterday’s ruling requires Prudential to disclose all but 16 of the documents it has been arguing should remain from public view. The parties must file all other documents (not redacted) by September 28, 2015, according to the ruling.

Prudential has denied wrongdoing throughout the proceedings, but most of the records filed in the case have been sealed from the public at Prudential’s request. The VFW insists that it is in the best interests of the families and the public to fully understand what Prudential has done in connection with its administration of federally subsidized life insurance programs for service members and veterans. Yesterday’s decision underscores that.