WASHINGTON (AP) — A Maryland man who was suspected in the presumed death of his traveling companion in Aruba is suing to collect on a travel insurance policy issued in the woman’s name.
Gary Giordano says in a lawsuit that AMEX Assurance Company is required to pay him $3.5 million under the terms of a policy purchased before last summer’s trip. He says in the suit that his companion, Robyn Gardner, is presumed dead following her Aug. 2 disappearance and that the insurance company “has a duty to pay the full death benefit” to him.
Giordano, 51, was held for months in an Aruban jail on suspicion of being involved in Gardner’s disappearance, and the insurance policy’s existence caught the attention of investigators and prosecutors looking to build a case against him. But an Aruban judge ordered him released in November, saying prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to continue holding him.
Giordano, who has since returned home to Gaithersburg, Md., has denied wrongdoing and says Gardner was swept out to sea as the two snorkeled off the southern tip of Aruba. Her friends and family have expressed doubt about that explanation, saying they thought it was unlikely that she would have gone snorkeling in the first place.
Giordano says in the lawsuit that Gardner was covered under a July 27 policy that afforded $3.5 million in benefits in the event of accidental death or dismemberment. He says he is the named beneficiary under the policy but that the insurance company has refused his demands to pay.
Giordano told The Associated Press that the lawsuit speaks for itself and declined further comment. The suit was filed Thursday in Cook County, Ill., where AMEX Assurance is based.
“He’s not running for public office,” Scott Blumenshine, a lawyer for Giordano, said Monday. “He’s a person who had a contract with another party, and we’re just asking that that other party be held to their promise — which is to pay benefits.”
American Express Co. spokeswoman Gail Wasserman declined to discuss the specifics of the case, but she said policyholders generally have to wait one year before filing a claim in instances in which a person is presumed dead but a body has not been located.
“When somebody is trying to collect a policy of this type and the insured person is missing, there is a 365-day period to file a claim,” she said. “We would have not accepted a claim before the 365th day because that’s the parameter of the policy.”
Follow Eric Tucker at http://twitter.com/etuckerAP
More Related Stories
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Moore officials: Funds for "safe rooms" were held up by red tape
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Rescue crews race to find tornado survivors
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Hundreds of low-wage federally contracted workers strike in D.C.
- Okla. mother's tearful reunion with her 8-year-old son
- New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination
- Study: Salt Lake City is gay parenting capital of the U.S.
- Inhofe and Coburn: Red state hypocrites
- Teen activist to meet with Abercrombie CEO
- Watch: Family emerges from storm shelter after tornado
- Must-see morning clip: Barackalypse Now
- Okla. tornado survivor reunited with dog trapped in rubble live on camera
- Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
- Oklahoma death count confirmed at 24, 9 children
- Frantic parents search for children in tornado's wake
- Crews dig through rubble after deadly tornado
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
- Record tornado devastates Oklahoma
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11