Messier v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co

In Messier v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 154 Vt. 406, 408, 578 A.2d 98, 99 (1990), the insured actively sought the forms from his employer to change the beneficiary on his employer-supplied life insurance contract to his fianc because he was about to marry her. He told two persons that he had changed the beneficiary of the policy, and others witnessed him filling out the change-of-beneficiary forms. However, when he died less than two weeks before the wedding, the forms could not be found in his personal possessions or in his personnel file. Despite the fact that there was no direct evidence that the forms were ever submitted, the Court reversed a grant of summary judgment in a suit between the fianc and the insured's original beneficiaries, his parents. The Court held that the change of beneficiary could be shown by the intent to make the change plus a "reasonable effort" to do so, and that the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to show that the insured had made a reasonable effort. Id. at 410, 578 A.2d at 100.