Plaintiff Samuel Brand sued his disability insurer, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (“AXA”), for failing to pay and improperly handling his disability claim. Brand also sued the third party administrator who handled the claim, Disability Management Systems, Inc. (“DMS”), and Centre Life Insurance Company (“Centre”), AXA’s reinsurer for its disability claims. Centre and DMS moved to dismiss Brand’s breach of contract and statutory bad faith claims on the basis that they had no contractual relationship with the plaintiff.
The district court agreed with the defendants, noting that the breach of contract claims failed because Brand was not a party to any contract with DMS or Centre. The court also rejected Brand’s theory that he was a third-party-beneficiary of AXA’s contracts with DMS and Centre, holding that the defendants’ contracts with AXA did not reflect an expectation that DMS or Centre would have a direct obligation to any AXA policyholder such as Brand. The court dismissed the statutory bad faith claims because neither DMS nor Centre qualified as Brand’s “insurer” as that term is defined and construed under Pennsylvania’s insurance bad faith statute. Brand v. AXA Equitable Life Ins. Co., No. CV-08-2859 (USDC E.D. Pa. Sept. 16, 2008).