American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus v. ParkerAnnotate this Case
These consolidated appeals arose from the same facts: in 1990, Richard L. Parker applied to American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac) for a cancer-indemnity insurance policy. Aflac issued Parker a policy. The term of the 1990 policy was month-to-month; the monthly premium was $28.50. Aflac received payments for the 1990 policy from August 25, 1990, to August 17, 1996. Parker applied for a new policy in May 1996 for when the 1990 policy was set to terminate. The 1996 policy took effect August 16, 1996, and used the same number as the 1990 policy. Parker renewed the policy once again in 2009, but the 2009 policy contained an arbitration clause. By a special waiver, the 2009 policy's language stated that Parker would give up his "current" policy and its benefits for the benefits in the new one. Parker paid according to the term of the 2009 policy. But in 2010, Parker sued Aflac asserting a claim of bad faith for Aflac's alleged failing to pay policy benefits owed under the 1990 policy. Aflac responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration according to the terms of the 2009 policy. The circuit court conducted a hearing on the motion and denied it. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that Aflac satisfied its burden of proving that an arbitration agreement existed that applied to Parker's claims against it. Because there was no issue as to whether the contract containing the arbitration agreement affected interstate commerce, the burden then shifted to Parker to offer evidence refuting the evidence offered by Aflac and Hunter; Parker offered no evidence to refute that evidence and presented "no persuasive argument" that Aflac failed to meet its burden. The Court reversed the circuit court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.