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Indian Equitable Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Onkarappa - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1934Mad674; 152Ind.Cas.654
AppellantIndian Equitable Insurance Co. Ltd.
RespondentOnkarappa
Cases ReferredHendler v. Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association
Excerpt:
.....implies that there has been nothing seriously wrong with the man for a continuous period of time and not: merely that at the time that ho made the statement be was in good health. the distinction between this kind of form and the elaborate queries which are put to any person when he makes a proposal for the first time to the company is very marked and it is scarcely fair that insurance companies should without putting the assured on sufficient notice as to the degree of care that they are expected to exercise in making a statement like ex. satyanarayana rao requires, we are by no means satisfied that there has been any mis-statement in ex......form and the elaborate queries which are put to any person when he makes a proposal for the first time to the company is very marked and it is scarcely fair that insurance companies should without putting the assured on sufficient notice as to the degree of care that they are expected to exercise in making a statement like ex. 5, or the kind of information that they are expected to give, be permitted to take advantage of any ailment that be might have had once upon a time between the date of the original policy and the date of the declaration for the purpose of revival. but even judged by the severe test which mr. satyanarayana rao requires, we are by no means satisfied that there has been any mis-statement in ex. 5. even according to the doctor's opinion, the assured only suffered from.....
Judgment:

Varadachariar, J.

1. The plaintiff's father took out an insurance policy on his life in the defendant Company in 1920. The premium was payable annually, but the payment due in March 1924 was allowed to remain unpaid even after the expiry of the period of grace. i.e., even after 2nd April. When the Company gave the assured a notice of lapse on 8th April, the assured sent in the declaration Ex. 5 as required by the rules of the Company and the terms of the policy according to which the policy could be revived

on furnishing satisfactory evidence of continued good health and on the payment to the Company of all premiums duo with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum up to the date of re-instatement.

2. It would appear that the policy in this case had even by the date in question acquired a surrender value, but it is unnecessary to base any conclusion on that circumstance, because the declaration was made within the time allowed even in respect of policies which had not acquired such surrender value. The declaration and payment were accepted by the Company and the policy was revived. The assured died in October 1924; and when the claim was sent in on behalf of the plaintiff, the claim was accompanied by the following certificate given by the doctor under whose treatment the assured was just before his death.

Mr. Saranappa was suffering from acute dyspepsia from the beginning of August 1924 to the end of September 1924 and succumbed to it on 4th October 1924. He had slight attack of the same in the last weak of January 1924 but got over it by undergoing treatment for over a month (Ex. 1).

3. On receipt of this certificate, the company thought of raising the question whether at the date of Ex. 5 Saranappa was justified in making the declaration that he had continued in good health because, according to Ex. 1, he had had an attack of dyspepsia between January and March 1924. They accordingly put further queries to the doctor to which ho replied by the letters Ex. 2 series, giving more detailed information as required by them, but they do not really carry the matter very far.

4. The chief argument of Mr. Satyanarayana Rao here, on behalf of the Insurance Company who is the appellant, is that the statement in Ex. 5 is a misstatement on a material particular and the position must be judged on the same principles as will govern mis-statements in the original proposal. It is unnecessary for the purpose of the present case to consider how far the observations to which Mr. Satyanarayana Rao referred from the decision reported in Hendler v. Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association (1904) 90 L.T. 192, support his contention that a revival must be judged by the same considerations as govern the original proposal because a revival is really a new contract. He has still to show that in Ex. 5 there is a wilful misstatement on a material particular. He asks us to hold that the reference to continued good health implies that there has been nothing seriously wrong with the man for a continuous period of time and not: merely that at the time that ho made the statement be was in good health. The form is a printed slip supplied by the company and it is not by any means very clear that persons who are called upon to sign that statement are really put upon sufficient notice as to what it is that the company expects thorn to state. The distinction between this kind of form and the elaborate queries which are put to any person when he makes a proposal for the first time to the company is very marked and it is scarcely fair that Insurance Companies should without putting the assured on sufficient notice as to the degree of care that they are expected to exercise in making a statement like Ex. 5, or the kind of information that they are expected to give, be permitted to take advantage of any ailment that be might have had once upon a time between the date of the original policy and the date of the declaration for the purpose of revival. But even judged by the severe test which Mr. Satyanarayana Rao requires, we are by no means satisfied that there has been any mis-statement in Ex. 5. Even according to the doctor's opinion, the assured only suffered from a mild attack of dyspepsia between January and March and in the very first certificate Ex. 1 the doctor added that the patient had 'got over it by undergoing treatment,' and this is obviously shown by the fact that as shown in Ex. 2-A while the assured continued under his treatment up to 1st March 1924 the treatment stopped thereafter, and Ex. 5 is sent more than a month after the cessation of the treatment. Under these circumstances it is not reasonable to hold that the assured had made any kind of misstatement in Ex. 5 and much leas that he had made a wilful misrepresentation. On this short ground the appeal fails and is dismissed with coats.


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