Friday, July 13, 2012

Edillon v Manila Bankers Life G.R. No. L-34200 September 30, 1982

J. Vasquez

Carmen O, Lapuz applied with Manila Bankers for insurance coverage against accident and injuries. She gave the date of her birth as July 11, 1904. She paid the sum of P20.00 representing the premium for which she was issued the corresponding receipt. The policy was to be effective for 90 days.
During the effectivity, Carmen O. Lapuz died in a vehicular accident in the North Diversion Road.
Petitioner Regina L. Edillon, a sister of the insured and the beneficiary in the policy, filed her claim for the proceeds of the insurance. Her claim having been denied, Regina L. Edillon instituted this action in the trial court.
The insurance corporation relies on a provision contained in the contract excluding its liability to pay claims under the policy in behalf of "persons who are under the age of sixteen (16) years of age or over the age of sixty (60) years" They pointed out that the insured was over sixty (60) years of age when she applied for the insurance coverage, hence the policy became void.
The trial court dismissed the complaint and ordered edillon to pay P1000. The reason was that a policy of insurance being a contract of adhesion, it was the duty of the insured to know the terms of the contract he or she is entering into.
The insured could not have been qualified under the conditions stated in said contract and should have asked for a refund of the premium.

Whether or not the acceptance by the insurance corporation of the premium and the issuance of the corresponding certificate of insurance should be deemed a waiver of the exclusionary condition of coverage stated in the policy.

Held: Yes. Petition granted.

The age of Lapuz was not concealed to the insurance company. Her application clearly indicated her age of the time of filing the same to be almost 65 years of age. Despite such information which could hardly be overlooked, the insurance corporation received her payment of premium and issued the corresponding certificate of insurance without question.
There was sufficient time for the private respondent to process the application and to notice that the applicant was over 60 years of age and cancel the policy.
Under the circumstances, the insurance corporation is already deemed in estoppel. It inaction to revoke the policy despite a departure from the exclusionary condition contained in the said policy constituted a waiver of such condition, similar to Que Chee Gan vs. Law Union Insurance.
The insurance company was aware, even before the policies were issued, that in the premises insured there were only two fire hydrants contrary to the requirements of the warranty in question.
It is usually held that where the insurer, at the time of the issuance of a policy of insurance, has knowledge of existing facts which, if insisted on, would invalidate the contract from its very inception, such knowledge constitutes a waiver of conditions in the contract inconsistent with the known facts, and the insurer is stopped thereafter from asserting the breach of such conditions.
To allow a company to accept one's money for a policy of insurance which it then knows to be void and of no effect, though it knows as it must, that the assured believes it to be valid and binding, is so contrary to the dictates of honesty and fair dealing.
Capital Insurance & Surety Co., Inc. vs. - involved a violation of the provision of the policy requiring the payment of premiums before the insurance shall become effective. The company issued the policy upon the execution of a promissory note for the payment of the premium. A check given subsequent by the insured as partial payment of the premium was dishonored for lack of funds. Despite such deviation from the terms of the policy, the insurer was held liable.
“... is that although one of conditions of an insurance policy is that "it shall not be valid or binding until the first premium is paid", if it is silent as to the mode of payment, promissory notes received by the company must be deemed to have been accepted in payment of the premium. In other words, a requirement for the payment of the first or initial premium in advance or actual cash may be waived by acceptance of a promissory note...”

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