IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Fairness Hearing was held on October 17, 2023, and the Court granted final approval of the Settlement on the same day. The Court entered the Final Judgment on October 25, 2023. For more information, please review the Important Documents page.
What is the lawsuit about?
The class action lawsuit alleges that AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (“AXA Equitable”) breached its contracts with certain policy owners and circulated illustrations with misrepresentations. In October 2015, policyholders were issued letters announcing that their insurance policies would be subject to the cost of insurance ("COI") Rate Increase, and Plaintiffs assert the COI Rate Increase violated the terms of the policyholders’ contracts, and that Plaintiffs and members of the Policy-Based Claims Class have been damaged as a result. With respect to the Illustration Classes, Plaintiffs allege that AXA Equitable planned to increase the COI rates of the Athena Universal Life II ("AUL II") policies as early as July 10, 2006, but concealed that fact in illustrations promulgated in connection with the issuance and maintenance of the policies until the COI Rate Increase was announced in 2015. AXA Equitable denies Plaintiffs’ claims and asserts multiple defenses, including that AXA Equitable’s challenged actions are consistent with the terms of the policy contracts and applicable laws and regulations, justified, and have not harmed Plaintiffs or caused any damages. The Court has not decided who is right or wrong.
In May 2023, Plaintiffs and AXA Equitable reached an agreement and proposed Settlement of the claims in this case. If the Court approves the Settlement, Class Members will be eligible to receive payment from a cash Settlement Fund of up to $307,500,000.00.
Who is included in the Classes?
The Classes consists of the following two nationwide Classes and the New York Sub-Class:
Nationwide Policy-Based Claims Class: All persons or entities who, on or after March 8, 2016, are or were registered owners of AUL II policies that were issued by AXA Equitable and subjected to the cost of insurance rate increase announced by AXA Equitable on or about October 1, 2015, as well as those persons’ or entities’ heirs, successors, or assigns.
Nationwide Illustration-Based Claims Class: All individuals who, on or after March 8, 2016, are or were registered owners of an AUL II policy unaccompanied by a Lapse Protection Rider that was issued by AXA after July 10, 2006 and subjected to the COI rate increase announced by AXA on or about October 1, 2015, unless the registered owner of such policy is a securities intermediary, in which case the securities intermediary is not a class member but the entitlement holder with respect to that policy is. Entitlement holders for policies that were previously opted out of the Illustration Class through a securities intermediary are excluded from the Illustration Class with respect to those policies.
New York Illustration-Based Claims Sub-Class: All members of the Nationwide Illustration-Based Claims Class who reside in New York.