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Statement of the Case.
NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY v.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI.
No. 262. Argued April 25, 1900.-Decided May 28, 1900.
The contract for life insurance in this case, made by a New York insurance company in the State of Missouri, with a citizen of that State, is subject to the laws of that State regulating life insurance policies, although the policy declares “that the entire contract contained in the said policy and in this application, taken together, shall be construed and interpreted as a whole and in each of its parts and obligations, according to the laws of the State of New York, the place of the contract being expressly agreed to be the principal office of the said company in the city of New York." The power of a State over foreign corporations is not less than the power
of a State over domestic corporations. The business of insurance is not commerce, and the makiug of a contract
of insurance is a mere incident of commercial intercourse in which there is no difference whatever between insurance against fire, insurance against the perils of the sea, or insurance of life.
The controversy in this case is as to the amount due upon a policy of insurance issued by the plaintiff in error, upon the life of John K. Cravens, husband of the defendant in error.
The contention of the plaintiff in error is that there is only due on the policy, if anything, the sum of $2670 ; that of defendant in error is that she is entitled to the full amount of the policy, to wit, $10,000, less unpaid premiums.
These contentions depend chiefly for solution on the statute of Missouri, inserted in the margin,' Missouri Rev. Stat. 1879,
1 Sec. 5983. Policies non-forfeitable, when.-No policies of insurance on life hereafter issued by any life insurance company authorized to do business in this State, on and after the first day of August, A.D. 1879, shall, after payment upon it of two full annual premiums, be forfeited or become void by reason of the non-payment of premiums thereon, but it shall be subject to the following rules of commutation, to wit: The net value of the policy when the premium becomes due and is not paid shall be computed upon the American experience table of mortality, with four and one half per cent interest per annum, and after deducting from three fourths of Statement of the Case.
c. 119, Art. 2, and the issue arising is, whether the defendant in error, as beneficiary in the policy because of the payment of
such net value any notes or other indebtedness to the company, given on account of past premium payments on said policy issued to the insured, which indebtedness shall then be cancelled, the balance shall be taken as a net single premium for temporary insurance for the full amount written in the policy, and the term for which such temporary insurance shall be in force shall be determined by the age of the person whose life is insured at the time of default of premium, and the assumption of mortality and interest aforesaid; but if the policy shall be an endowment, payable at a certain time, or at death if it should occur previously, then if what remains as aforesaid shall exceed the net single premium of temporary insurance for the remainder of the endowment term for the full amount of the policy, such excess shall be considered as a net single preminm, for a pure endowment of so much as such premium will purchase, determined by the age of the insured at date of defaulting the payment of premium on the original policy, and the table of mortality and interest as aforesaid, which amount shall be paid at the end of the original term of endowment, if the insured shall then be alive.
Sec. 5984. A paid-up policy may be demanded, when.- At any time after the payment of two or more full annual premiums, and not later than sixty days from the beginning of the extended insurance provided in the preceding section, the legal holder of the policy may demand of the company, and the company shall issue its paid-up policy, which, in case of an ordinary life policy, shall be for such an amount as the net value of the original policy at the age and date of lapse, computed according to the American experience table of mortality, with interest at the rate of four and a half per cent per annum, without deduction of indebtedness on account of said policy, will purchase, applied as a single premium upon the table rates of the company, and in case of a limited payment life policy, or of a continued payment endowment policy payable at a certain time, or of a limited payment endowment policy, payable at a certain time, or at death, it shall be for an amount bearing such proportion to the amount of the original policy as the number of complete annual premiums actually paid shall bear tu the number of such premiums stipulated to be paid: Provided, that from such amount the company shall have the right to deduct the net reversionary value of all indebtedness to the company on account of such policy: and provided further, that the policy holder shall, at the time of making demand for such paid-up policy, surrender the original policy, legally discharged, at the parent office of the company.
SEC. 5985. Rule of payment on commuted policy.-If the death of the insured occur within the term of temporary insurance covered by the value of the policy as determined in section 5983, and if no condition of the insurance other than the payment of premiums shall have been violated by the insured, the company shall be bound to pay the amount of the policy,
Statement of the Case.
four annual premiums, and notwithstanding the omission to pay the fifth and sixth annual premiums, is entitled to extended insurance as provided in section 5983, that is, to the full amount of the policy less unpaid premiuins, or is entitled to the amount of commuted insurance tendered by plaintiff in error.
The case was submitted upon an agreed statement of facts substantially as follows:
That the defendant is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York as a mutual life insurance company, without capital stock, having its chief office in the city of New York, and was, at the date of issuing the policy in question and since has been engaged in the business of insuring lives through branch offices in the different States and Territories of this country and certain foreign countries; and that it maintains agents and examiners in the State of Missouri.
On May 2, 1887, the local agent of the company solicited John K. Cravens, at his residence in Missouri, to insure his life in the
the same as if there had been no default in payment of premiums, anything in the policy to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, however, that notice of the claim and proof of the death shall be submitted to the company in the same manner as provided by the terms of the policy, within ninety days after the decease of the insured; and, provided, also, that the company shall have the right to deduct from the amount insured in the policy the amount compounded at six per cent interest per annum of all the premiums that had been forborne at the time of the decease, including the whole of the year's premiums in which the death occurs, but such premiums shall in no case exceed the ordinary life premium for the age at issue, with interest as last aforesaid.
SEC. 5986. The foregoing provisions not applicable, when.— The three preceding sections shall not be applicable in the following cases, to wit: If the policy shall contain a provision for an unconditional cash surrender value at least equal to the net single premium for the temporary insurance provided hereinbefore, or for the unconditional commutation of the policy to non-forfeitable paid-up insurance for which the net value shall be equal to that provided for in section 5984, or if the legal holder of the policy shall, within sixty days after default of premium, surrender the policy and accept from the company another form of policy, or if the policy shall be surrendered to the company for a consideration adequate in the judgment of the legal holder thereof, then, and in any of the foregoing cases, this act shall not be applicable.
Statement of the Case.
company, and thereupon Cravens signed and delivered to the local agent a written application for the policy in suit. The application was made a part of the policy, and contained the follo:ving provisions :
“That inasmuch as only the officers of the home office of the said company in the city of New York have authority to determine whether or not a policy shall issue on any application, and as they act on the written statements and representations referred to, no statements, representations, promises or information made or given by or to the person soliciting or taking this application for a policy, or by or to any other person, shall be binding on said company, or in any manner affect its rights, unless such statements, representations, promises or information be reduced to writing and presented to the officers of said company, at the home office, in this application.
“That the contract contained in such policy and in this application shall be construed according to the laws of the State of New York, the place of said contract being agreed to be the home office of said company in the city of New York.”
The application was signed by the agent of the company and forwarded to the latter's home office in New York, and thereupon the policy in suit was issued and transmitted to Kansas City by the company to its agent, who there received the same, and there delivered it to Cravens on the 20th of May, 1887, and collected the first premium provided to be paid.
Four annual premiums of $589.50 each were paid in Missouri. The fifth and sixth premiums were not paid. Cravens died November 2, 1892, in Missouri, and proof thereof was duly made.
The company had different forms of policies, and Cravens selected a non-forfeiting limited tontine policy, fifteen years' endowment, with the limited premium return plan of insurance. This plan is described in the policy as follows:
“This policy is issued on the non-forfeiting limited tontine policy plan, the particulars of which are as follows:
“That the tontine dividend period for this policy shall be completed on the 11th day of May, in the year nineteen hundred and two.
“That no dividend shall be allowed or paid upon this policy
Statement of the Case.
unless the person whose life is hereby insured shall survive until completion of its tontine dividend period, and unless this policy shall then be in force.
“That surplus or profits derived from such policies on the non-forfeiting limited tontine policy plan as shall not be in force at the date of the completion of their respective tontine dividend periods, shall be apportioned among such policies as shall complete their tontine dividend periods."
At the end of the tontine period certain benefits were to be allowed, which are stated in the policy, but which need not be repeated.
The policy also contained the following provision :
“That if the premiums are not paid, as hereinafter provided, on or before the days when due, then this policy shall become void, and all payments previously made shall be forfeited to the company, except that if this policy, after being in force three full years, shall lapse or become forfeited for the nonpayment of any premium, a paid-up policy will be issued on demand within six months after such lapse, with the surrender of this policy, under the same conditions as this policy, except as to payments of premiums, but without participation in profits, for an amount equal to as many fifteenth parts of the sum above insured as there shall have been complete annual premiums paid hereon when said default in the payment of premium shall be made; and all right, claim or interest arising, under statute or otherwise, to or in any other paid-up policy or surrender value, and to or in any temporary insurance, whether required or provided for by the statute of any State, or not, is hereby expressly waived and relinquished.
The total number of policies, of the plan of the policy in suit, issued in the year 1887 to the residents of all states and countries where the company was doing business was 5172, covering an aggregate of insurance of $20,154,981.
The amount of paid-up insurance to which the policy was entitled, at the date of lapsing, was $2670. No demand was made for it within six months after default, or at any time. Upon the death of Cravens the company offered to waive the failure to make such demand, and tendered defendant in error,