A father’s greed for $500,000 of life insurance ended the short life of smiling toddler Prince McLeod Rams.
His father Joaquin drowned the doe-eyed Washington, D.C.-area tyke, who was just 15 months old.
How could Joaquin get away with buying a fortune worth of life insurance on an infant?
Life insurance can keep a family running if a spouse dies of cancer, or a business afloat if a key partner has a heart attack. These are valid reasons for insuring someone’s life. It’s called an insurable interest. It’s a standard requirement that helps keep life policies from becoming murder weapons.
Yet Rams hoodwinked the life-insurance system.
In applying for coverage, Rams lied that the boy’s estranged mother was dead in order to avoid telling her about his plans to insure Prince’s life.
Simply trying to insure a newborn also should’ve raised red flags when Joaquin sought the coverage. His shaky finances gave him yet a deeper murder motive.
Rams was blowing through money. He even planned to move out of his Northern Virginia home to rent it out and make his mortgage payments.
His suspicious behavior finally did him in. Rams told his Realtor right after Prince died that he was moving back home. He said he was buying new appliances and re-painting his home, even though his finances were on quicksand at the time. Detailed forensics also revealed Prince was drowned.
Did any insurer check whether Prince’s mother was alive? Did they check Rams’ finances? Did the mere fact of a young father insuring a newborn’s life trigger enough alarm bells for a deeper look at his motives?
We need a high standard of scrutiny for insuring the precious lives of toddlers and other youths. That responsibility extends from life insurers to insurance agents to state laws that permit such sales.
Little Prince never had a childhood. But his death can help other kids live their childhoods. We must tighten a life-insurance system that sadly allowed Prince to perish all too young.
About the author: Jim Quiggle is director of communications for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.