Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fox Morning News After Bill Passing

John, Kaitlyn and Senator Spilka was on the Fox Morning News on December 9th to discuss the passage of Jenny's Law and its impact on the insurance industry in Massachusetts.

For morning News After Bill Passing

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On May 12, 2008, the Boston Globe published the following article discussing SBLI's insurance claim denial.

Jenny's Law in the Metrowest Daily News after Passage
The following story discusses John and Jenny's relationship and the motivation behind Jenny's Law which appeared on the Metrowest Daily news on November 17, 2008.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Jenny's Law in the MetroWest Daily News

The following story, which recounts John Crowley's testimony from the October 10 Financial Services Committee hearing, appeared in the MetroWest Daily News on October 13, 2007:

Life insurance woes prompt grieving husband to fight for change in law

Jenny's Law on Fox 25 Morning News

On October 11, 2007, John and Kaitlyn Crowley spoke with Kim Carrigan of Fox 25 Morning News about Jenny's Law. Click on the link below to watch the video:

Life Insurance Warning

You can also read Kim Carrigan's blog about Jenny's Law, and add comments:

Insure Me This Won't Happen Again

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Life Insurance Warning

When Life Insurance Isn’t Any Insurance At All

Like millions of Americans, the Crowleys purchased a life insurance policy when they decided to start a family. But when Jenny Crowley died of breast cancer shortly after giving birth, their life insurance company refused to pay up. With Jenny’s Law, the husband and young daughter she left behind are fighting to make sure other families who take the proper precautions don’t suffer the same fate.

In the summer of 2004, John and Jenny Crowley had it all. Friends since the second grade who later became high school sweethearts, their 2000 wedding was a happy celebration of two people and two families who clearly loved each other very much. When Jenny, an account manager at a boutique advertising agency, discovered she was pregnant in 2003, John had just landed an exciting job as Director of Finance at a successful consulting firm. The future lay ahead of them, and it seemed to hold nothing but promise.

In June 2004, John & Jenny welcomed a healthy baby girl, Kaitlyn, into their family. In preparation for the birth of their first child, they had looked for life insurance policies and chose SBLI, in part because their rates were competitive, but also because Jenny had managed their advertising campaign. The insurance company issued its policy for the Crowleys in September of 2004, a month after Jenny’s first post-partum check up and two months after it performed a clinical medical exam, including blood work. Because of a previous melanoma scare, Jenny was issued a higher premium than John. Other than that, they appeared to be in perfect health.

Shortly after giving birth, physicians at the delivery hospital examined Jenny and noted she was in perfect clinical health. At Jenny’s first appointment with her OBGYN in August 2004, the doctor examined Jenny’s breasts and noted nothing unusual. It was not until Jenny’s follow-up visit with her OBGYN in October 2004 when the doctor noted some firmness she thought was consistent with postpartum, but cautiously suggested that Jenny see a specialist to leave no stone unturned. Shockingly, a biopsy performed two weeks later revealed that Jenny had a very aggressive form of Stage IV breast cancer.

For the next year, Jenny fought bravely—for her life and to leave a legacy for her daughter. When she no longer had the energy to work, John became the sole breadwinner for the family, all the while spending every minute possible with his beloved wife and tiny daughter. Jenny cherished the time she had with Kaitlyn but was often sick and fatigued, the result of strenuous chemotherapy.

Just one year short of her terrible diagnosis, in early October 2005, Jenny passed away at the age of 31. Kaitlyn was just 16 months old. Despondent from his loss, but comforted by the idea that he and Jenny had taken the proper financial precautions for their daughter, John Crowley began the process of submitting a claim on Jenny’s life insurance policy.

On December 30, 2005, as they were in the early stages of rebuilding a life without their wife and mother, John and Kaitlyn Crowley received another blow: the life insurance company had denied their claim. The reasoning the company used to support their denial of the claim was unbelievable: they speculated that if Jenny Crowley had Stage IV cancer in October, she must have had it in September when the policy was issued.

According to the company, she could have not been in good health at the time her policy was written, and so her contract was considered void and her family was therefore not entitled to any benefits. They asserted this despite the fact that she had had numerous evaluations by medical professionals—including one representing the insurance company—before her policy was written, all of whom found no evidence of cancer and were willing to declare her in good health. Even now, no doctor can state definitively when Jenny’s cancer began, or if it even existed prior to the day her policy was issued.

In essence, the life insurance company was saying that its own requirements for determining someone to be in good health were insufficient, and therefore it didn’t have to pay. They acknowledged that John Crowley was not attempting to defraud the company or misrepresent facts. They simply used their unfounded supposition about when Jenny’s cancer began to deny John’s legitimate claim.

To add insult to injury, Jenny had been in charge of managing SBLI’s advertising campaign before she got sick. In order to help sell the company’s products to young families just like hers, Jenny had designed a brochure featuring an infant Kaitlyn on the cover. The text read, “If only every decision were as easy as choosing the right life insurance.”

In the two years since Jenny’s death, John Crowley has turned the sadness of losing his wife and the shock of the unfairness done to his family into a personal crusade. At first he contemplated a lawsuit against the company, giving up his career track to have more time and flexibility to pursue it while caring for his baby daughter. When it became clear that the company’s resources, both legal and financial, would far outlast his as a working single dad, he dropped the idea of a lawsuit and focused instead on making sure that this same injustice would never be perpetrated on anyone else.

His efforts have resulted in a bill, filed in the Massachusetts legislature by State Senator Karen Spilka, that would make the life insurance company, rather than the individual insured, responsible for proving that someone is not in good health at the time a policy is issued. Named Jenny's Law in honor of Jenny Crowley, the bill would allow life insurance companies all the time they need to gather the necessary medical information to determine whether an applicant
meets their standards of good health, as well as continue to protect life insurance companies from fraud and misrepresentation. But it would also protect families like the Crowleys, who do all the right things but find themselves in circumstances they could never imagine.

In remembering his wife, John Crowley is still amazed with the strength she displayed while living with cancer. She kept the family together, never complaining and lighting up every room she entered with her smile. She was known among the doctors and hospital staff at Dana Farber for her fearlessness and strong spirit.

These are the qualities that John carries with him as he seeks to reform Massachusetts law to better safeguard the very families life insurance companies are in business to protect. As well as testifying in support of Senator Spilka’sbill, John plans to tell his story to whoever will listen, in the hopes that the public will hold life insurance companies accountable for
acting in good faith.

Nothing can erase the grief that the Crowleys experienced in losing Jenny. John Crowley is convinced, however, that the pain of losing a loved one need not be compounded by a life insurance company that refuses to do the right thing. Families like the Crowleys, who take every precaution available to them and don’t misrepresent the facts, should never know the pain of a denied life insurance claim. With Jenny’s Law before the legislature, Massachusetts has the opportunity to turn his sense of loss into a stronger sense of security for countless families across the Commonwealth.

Support Jenny’s Law
Senate Bill 633: An Act Ensuring Consumer Protection in Life Insurance Contracts "Jenny's Law"

To support this bill, contact your local Representative and Senator. You can find out who that is and how contact them by using this website:

It is also important to contact the Financial Services Committee chairs. This is the Committee that will determine whether the bill moves to the Senate floor for debate:

Representative Ron Mariano
State House
Room 254
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-722-2821

Senator Stephen Buoniconti
State House
Room 206
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-1660
Fax: 413-733-9998

In addition, it is important to contact the House Speaker and Senate President so they are aware of the bill:

Speaker of the House Speak Sal DiMasi
State House
Room 356
State House
Boston, MA 02133
Telephone: 617-722-2500
Fax: 617-722-2008

Senate President Therese Murray
State House
Room 330
Boston, MA 02133
Tel: (617) 722-1500
Fax: (617) 248-3840

When contacting elected officials by letter or email, please be sure to include your full mailing address.