Thursday, July 12, 2012

Great Pacific v CA G.R. No. L-31845 April 30, 1979

J. De Castro

Ngo Hing filed an application with the Great Pacific for a twenty-year endowment policy in the amount of P50,000.00 on the life of his one-year old daughter Helen. He supplied the essential data which petitioner Mondragon, the Branch Manager, wrote on the form. The latter paid the annual premium the sum of P1,077.75 going over to the Company, but he retained the amount of P1,317.00 as his commission for being a duly authorized agent of Pacific Life.
Upon the payment of the insurance premium, the binding deposit receipt was issued Ngo Hing. Likewise, petitioner Mondragon handwrote at the bottom of the back page of the application form his strong recommendation for the approval of the insurance application. Then Mondragon received a letter from Pacific Life disapproving the insurance application. The letter stated that the said life insurance application for 20-year endowment plan is not available for minors below seven years old, but Pacific Life can consider the same under the Juvenile Triple Action Plan, and advised that if the offer is acceptable, the Juvenile Non-Medical Declaration be sent to the company.
The non-acceptance of the insurance plan by Pacific Life was allegedly not communicated by petitioner Mondragon to private respondent Ngo Hing. Instead, on May 6, 1957, Mondragon wrote back Pacific Life again strongly recommending the approval of the 20-year endowment insurance plan to children, pointing out that since the customers were asking for such coverage.
Helen Go died of influenza. Ngo Hing sought the payment of the proceeds of the insurance, but having failed in his effort, he filed the action for the recovery before the Court of First Instance of Cebu, which ruled against him.

1. Whether the binding deposit receipt constituted a temporary contract of the life insurance in question
2. Whether Ngo Hing concealed the state of health and physical condition of Helen Go, which rendered void the policy

Held:  No. Yes. Petition dismissed.

The receipt was intended to be merely a provisional insurance contract. Its perfection was subject to compliance of the following conditions: (1) that the company shall be satisfied that the applicant was insurable on standard rates; (2) that if the company does not accept the application and offers to issue a policy for a different plan, the insurance contract shall not be binding until the applicant accepts the policy offered; otherwise, the deposit shall be refunded; and (3) that if the company disapproves the application, the insurance applied for shall not be in force at any time, and the premium paid shall be returned to the applicant.
The receipt is merely an acknowledgment that the latter's branch office had received from the applicant the insurance premium and had accepted the application subject for processing by the insurance company. There was still approval or rejection the same on the basis of whether or not the applicant is "insurable on standard rates." Since Pacific Life disapproved the insurance application of respondent Ngo Hing, the binding deposit receipt in question had never become in force at any time. The binding deposit receipt is conditional and does not insure outright. This was held in Lim v Sun.
The deposit paid by private respondent shall have to be refunded by Pacific Life.
2.  Ngo Hing had deliberately concealed the state of health of his daughter Helen Go. When he supplied data, he was fully aware that his one-year old daughter is typically a mongoloid child. He withheld the fact material to the risk insured.
“The contract of insurance is one of perfect good faith uberrima fides meaning good faith, absolute and perfect candor or openness and honesty; the absence of any concealment or demotion, however slight.”
The concealment entitles the insurer to rescind the contract of insurance.

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