Ex-Arkansas RB Rawleigh Williams suing insurance firm over unpaid policy

Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams was one of the top running backs in the SEC before a second neck injury resulted in his retirement. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams was one of the top running backs in the SEC before a second neck injury resulted in his retirement. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Rawleigh Williams’ football career came to an abrupt and unfortunate end last year.

Williams, Arkansas’ leading rusher in 2016 and one of the top backs in the SEC, was carted off the field following a collision during the team’s spring game last April. It was a scary moment for Williams, who suffered a herniated disk in his neck in 2015. This neck injury wasn’t as serious as his first, but it ultimately led Williams to announce his retirement from football a few weeks later.

In March 2017, Williams says he took out a $1 million insurance policy through Lloyd’s, a major insurance firm based in London, England. Like other football players, Williams pursued the insurance policy so he would be protected financially should he suffer another serious injury. Now, Williams is suing Lloyd’s. In the lawsuit, filed Monday, Williams’ attorneys say the company never paid him.

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

Williams, 21, is suing the parties for breach of contract, claiming they have not paid on a $1 million disability insurance policy taken out in March 2017. The lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, also claims bad faith, deceit and civil conspiracy on the defendants’ part.

The lawsuit was filed by Bill Horton of Caddell Reynolds of Rogers. Williams is demanding a jury trial and seeking payment of the $1 million policy as well as more than $3 million in punitive damages, court costs, attorneys’ fees and statutory damages of 12 percent of the total loss.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Lloyd’s amended Williams’ policy after his April injury to include an amendment excluding coverage for injuries to the “spinal column and adjacent and related structures.”

The lawsuit says Lloyd’s agent Justin Boeving sold the policy to Williams on March 10, 2017, but later told Williams of the change to the policy on May 9, a day after Williams announced publicly he was stepping away from the sport. It is also claimed in the lawsuit that Lloyd’s “intentionally delayed delivering a copy of the policy as long as possible” to allow it to “add an endorsement to the policy to try and eliminate coverage” for a specific injury suffered by Williams.

From the Democrat-Gazette:

Item No. 94 in the lawsuit claims Lloyd’s “Intentionally delayed delivering a copy of the March 16, 2017 Policy as long as possible so that if an injury occurred before the Policy was delivered, Lloyds could unilaterally add an endorsement to the Policy to try and eliminate coverage of the injury suffered.”

Horton said the Williams family has an audio recording of a voice mail left by Boeving for Williams’ father, also named Rawleigh Williams, on the day of his son’s second injury. A transcript of the voicemail included in the lawsuit claims Boeving said, “We have got coverage and everything in force, so no issues are on that. I’m just calling to make sure he’s all right.”

Williams rushed for 1,360 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016. Before suffering the neck injury against Auburn in 2015, he had 254 yards and a touchdown on 56 rushes.

Williams stayed with the team as a student assistant during the 2017 season as he pursues a degree in finance. He remains on scholarship via a medical hardship waiver.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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