Family of deceased teacher can't collect insurance, blames district

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 6 at 7:35 PM

PLANO - Susan Williams knew her husband was dying -- that was hard enough.

Now, the widow of a longtime Plano teacher is dealing with an insurance headache that started with miscommunication and an 11-day difference.

Robert Williams taught math at Plano West Senior High and coached the hockey club. Last summer, he was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer and underwent chemotherapy.

Though weak, he went to teach on the first day of school. It didn't go well.

"He said he wasn't able to keep up,” Susan Williams said. “Sometimes the kids would ask him questions, and he'd have to think about it."

Williams took sick time. His wife said he went to the district's human resources department to make sure there were no issues with his life insurance policy, because the district had just changed companies.

"They said, 'Look, you signed up on time,'” Mrs. Williams said. “'You're paying your premium. Go home and get well.'"

Two weeks later, Williams died.

Susan Williams filed a claim to  collect on his insurance policy. But it was denied.

The policy required the teacher to work one day; September 1, or any day after September 1. Robert Williams was there August 21, 11 days too early.

"Had they told him that he had to work one day, he would've gone in and worked one day," Mrs. Williams said. “Because then, his policy would've been in effect and he wouldn't have had any problems."

Susan Williams said her husband went to his grave thinking his family would be taken care of. They have a son with special needs.

"It hurts," she said. "And if they have done it to my husband, don't think for one minute, they're not going to do it to some other teacher who works in the school district and then something happens."

In a written statement from Plano ISD Superintendent Richard Matkin, district leaders say their old and new insurance carriers reviewed Williams claim, along with an independent firm.

Matkin says there was no change in the outcome.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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