A Jackson County jury awarded $28.4 million in damages to owners of universal life insurance products issued by Kansas City Life Insurance Co.

The jury ruled that Kansas City Life charged fees that exceeded the limits outlined in their contracts.

The products in question involved universal life insurance policies that in addition to death benefits provided an interest-bearing component that accumulates value over time.

Kansas City Life charged ongoing management fees on the policies. Those fees were supposed to be determined using “expectations as to future mortality experience,” according to client contracts. Instead, the jury determined that Kansas City Life charged higher fees based on factors that weren’t disclosed to clients.

The case, Karr v. Kansas City Life Insurance Co., is one of five statewide class-action complaints being prosecuted by Kansas City law firms Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP and Miller Schirger LLC, claiming that the company systematically overcharged universal life insurance policyholders for 30 years. The class includes more than 8,000 current and former policyholders.