Washington Post Ed. Board Says Life Insurance Regulations Would Cut Down on Child Homicides

The examples they provide demonstrate why their solution is wrong.


Crime scene tape
Tex Texin / Flickr

Lax life insurance regulations are encouraging way too many Americans to kill their children.

This, according to the Washington Post, whose breathless Sunday editorial ran with the headline, "Too many children are killed for insurance money. Here's how states can stop it."

Rather than condemn the actual murderers, the Post blames the life insurance industry, whose "spotty" regulatory compliance and commission-hungry salesmen have created a "system that has turned children into prey."

"The apparent ease with which these killers were able to obtain policies," the Editorial Board says "shows sufficient safeguards are not in place." What is needed, they say, are more procedural safeguards or dollar caps on child life insurance.

This call for tougher regulation is undercut, however, by the very circumstances of the murder cases outlined in the Washington Post's article.

The Post's piece rattles off several murder cases—many not actually involving children—where the killers are motivated by collecting on life insurance policies:

"Shane Paris Sisskoko was three months old when he was murdered in Montgomery County in 2001. Lemuel Wallace, 37, blind and developmentally disabled, was shot to death in 2009 in a Baltimore park. Latiqua Cherry, a Prince George's mother, was stabbed nine times before her body was set on fire in May 2015. Prince McLeod Rams was 15 months old when he was drowned or suffocated in Virginia in October 2012.

"Common to all of these deaths is that the killer had secretly insured the victims' lives and made themselves sole beneficiaries."

The Post fails to mention that each of the crimes they describe involves the fraudulent bypassing of regulations already on the books. Murderers, in the business of fraud and deception, are more than likely to be undeterred by additional regulation.

Laquita Cherry's ex-boyfriend reportedly had to fake her signature in order to take out an insurance policy on her life. Lemuel Wallace's killer—a former pastor named Kevin Pushia—fraudulently altered documents to be listed as a beneficiary.

Similarly, Shane Paris Sisskoko's father had to repeatedly lie to the child's mother about the reasons for medical examinations and calls from insurance companies to obscure the fact that he had taken a $750,000 policy on his son's life.

The Post editorial board simply ignores the laws in 42 states known as "slayer statues", which bar a beneficiary from collecting on a death they knowingly caused. Often a conviction for causing the death of the insured is not required for these slayer statutes to be invoked.

Moreover, the kinds of cases the Washington Post seems most concerned about—huge life insurance claims for the death of very young children—are also the kinds that will get the most scrutiny from life insurance companies, which often leads to police investigations.

An insurance company tipped off police to the huge life insurance policy on Wallace. And the death of a ten-year-old boy in Washington state whose murder the Post uses to encourage tighter regulation was was ruled an accidental death by police until an insurance investigator informed them of the $650,000 policy that the boy's father had taken out on him.

It should also have been made clear the type of murders referred to appear to be incredibly rare.

The Coalition to Prevent Insurance Fraud—a pro-regulation group cited in the Post's editorial—has logged 160 cases of murder motivated by life insurance in "recent years," according to a 2017 report.

The group offers no citation for statistic or what is meant by "recent years" so the accuracy of that number is hard to verify. Should "recent years" stretch over the last decade however, that would make them more scarce than children killed by babysitters, or fatal romantic triangles.

Most insurance-related homicides, the Coalition report admits, involve the killing of a spouse, not a child.

Calls for broad industry regulation to deal with a handful of admittedly tragic deaths are rarely justified or rational. The Washington Post's call for regulating life insurance as a means of cracking down on child murder is no exception.

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  1. The communistas are a sneaky bunch of deceitful scumbags.

  2. What about the sinister case of Clive Double-Down Ruggins? And no mention of Torque (Construction Noise) Lewith?

    1. I would love to know what the real purpose of the “Coalition to Prevent Insurance Fraud” is.

      Since insurance companies have entire departments dedicated to potential fraud, and them being for profit companies they can surely do a far more adequate job of discovering malfeasance, what could these busy bodies actually have as a motive?

      My guess is that they are big gov’t douchers that really want to profit off of insurance company remittances to meet their made up lobby/regulation.

      1. what could these busy bodies actually have as a motive

        Typically, the exact opposite of whatever their name implies.

        Like insurance companies are “pro-regulation”. ?_?

  3. “But I saw it in a crime movie! It must be true!”

  4. Honest question, as I really know jack shit about the insurance industry: Why are insurance companies selling huge life insurance policies for infants, toddlers, etc.? I know there is a constellation of life insurance policies, but one of the chief ideas behind life insurance is to hedge against the loss of a breadwinner. If a toddler dies it’s a tragedy, but not a hit to a family’s bottom line. We’re no longer in the days where a child is expected to till the soil, bring in the crops, etc., in a few years.

    1. Insurance companies sell polices for children because people are willing to pay for them.

      1. And because the risk/reward profile is tilted heavily in favor of the insurance company, more so than taking out a policy on dear old great-grandma. The premiums probably reflect such, but I’m guessing a couple bucks a month in premium revenue, versus the 0.00001% chance of a payout is a pretty good bet.

      2. They are dirt cheap policies if bought for infants/children. Say $50 per month for about $250,000 in death benefit. They can accrue cash value to more than the death benefit and can be given to the children when they are of age as an investment. Putting the money directly into the market/mutual funds would be a cheaper investment but it is a nice insurance policy that that kid can have for life with a very cheap premium.

        Nothing nefarious about it other than retards like the “Coalition to Prevent Insurance Fraud” needing something to do.

        1. They are dirt cheap policies if bought for infants/children. Say $50 per month for about $250,000 in death benefit.

          That’s far from cheap.

          1. I said they are cheap whole life/variable life policies. They are not cheap. Putting that money directly into an S&P fund would be far cheaper and would beat almost all broker’s performance over time, history has proven.

            Insurance is not an investment, it is a choice of allocation maybe and having a death benefit for grieving purposes is a consideration.

            Buy term, invest the difference and if you have it in your budget, get a cheap policy for your kids that you can give to them one day. Or not.

    2. The guy that wanted me to buy a policy on my kid pitched it as, start coverage now so he’ll still have a policy if he becomes uninsurable later. So, can’t be dumped later due to pre-existing conditions.
      Couldn’t figure out what he’d need a policy for if he became uninsurable later.

    3. It depends on the type of life insurance. There’s no reason to buy term life insurance for a child except to have it on hand for funeral expenses. Whole life is an entirely different animal because it accrues value.

      1. Whole Life Insurance is a scam

        1. Says those trying to sell term life…

    4. It’s not about being the breadwinner. A hedge against the loss of a breadwinner is just one motivation among many for buying insurance. Don’t forget that life insurance is also an investment. Taking out life insurance on a toddler could be a way to finance that toddler’s university career.

  5. Needz moar regulayshuns! It’s for the children…literally! Who will think of the children?

  6. Those goddamn greedy insurance companies paying out millions of $ of fraudulent claims. All they care about it profit, profit, profit.

  7. Look, it’s the Washington Post so we have to trust them at their word. Everyone knows they would never slant or misrepresent the truth just to sell a paper!


    1. Many anonymous sources died to bring us this information…

      1. And reposted by Robby Soave as truth. =P

  8. Using children to make money, you say? [strokes chin]

  9. A Washington Post anonymous source has told them that the ‘logic’ that you used to refute their position is both ‘incorrect’ and ‘triggering’.

    You can’t argue or question the motives of an anonymous source. This is known

  10. Rather than condemn the actual murderers, the Post blames the life insurance industry,

    Obviously, they need to ban insurance policies with the thing that goes up. These high-capacity policies are the real problem. Nobody needs a life insurance policy to pay out to more than one next of kin, two at the most.

  11. Typo, I think. ?12, “slayer statues” have a Mozartian Horror tinge: I think you meant to put an extra “t” in. Please feel free to delete this missive, once you have corrected the text, which otherwise is quite interesting.

  12. Why aren’t Nazi swastikas and Communist hammers and ???? ??? sickles equally offensive? My question is provoked by the fact that I saw a kid wearing a CCCP T-shirt while??? I was at the gym

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