The “Double Indemnity” Clause

June 15, 2020 1:45 pm


The “Double Indemnity” clause is an unusual twist in some Life Insurance Policies that sees the money pay-out being doubled if the death of the Insured person is deemed to be accidental.  The 1944 classic, thriller and psychological film drama “Double Indemnity” is based on this rare theory.  Life Insurance for mortgages available from companies such as are common because of the high purchase price of a property that has a mortgage secured on it.  Insurance salesman Walter Neff played by Fred MacMurray falls for sultry housewife Phyllis Dietrichson played by Barbara Stanwyck and the film evolves around how they conspire together to kill her husband and make it look like a tragic accident so that she can claim the double Indemnity clause on her dead husbands Life Insurance policy.

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The plot has Neff kill Dietichson’s Husband and they then make it look as though he has fallen off a train on his way to a College Reunion.  The Insurance company are at first convinced the claim is genuine and intend to pay out the substantial amount of money due until their Claims Adjuster “Barton Keyes” played by Edward G. Robinson starts to cast doubt on the death being accidental.

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The twisted plot comes to a very tragic ending when housewife Phyliss ends up shooting Walter in the shoulder before he grabs the gun, turns it on her and fatally shoots her.  Feeling full of remorse Walter confesses the whole sordid conspiracy to Barton and the final scene is of Keys smugly smoking a cigarette waiting for the police and an ambulance to arrive.