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Provat Kamal Basu and anr. Vs. Phoenix Assurance Co. Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1936Cal246
AppellantProvat Kamal Basu and anr.
RespondentPhoenix Assurance Co. Ltd.
Cases ReferredBombay v. Nanu Ayyar
Excerpt:
- .....his services by a notice as from the end of december 1926. plaintiff sues claiming damages for the renewal commissions which were due for the renewal of policies by clients introduced by the plaintiff, and for a further declaration that the plaintiff is entitled to such renewal commissions in future. the defence is that the plaintiff is not entitled to renewal commissions after the termination of his agency. the learned subordinate judge who tried the suit accepted the defence and gave a partial decree for the sum of rs. 33-5-0 which the defendant company was willing to pay. the plaintiff appealed and the district judge upheld the decree of the trial court. hence this second appeal by the plaintiff. it is contended that in accordance with the contract between the plaintiff and the.....
Judgment:

1. Plaintiff's case is that he was appointed an agent by the defendant Life Insurance Company on 29th October 1918 in order to do work of Life Canvasser. He continued in the service until there was trouble between him and the company as he began to work for another Insurance Company also. The defendant company objected to this and finally terminated his services by a notice as from the end of December 1926. Plaintiff sues claiming damages for the renewal commissions which were due for the renewal of policies by clients introduced by the plaintiff, and for a further declaration that the plaintiff is entitled to such renewal commissions in future. The defence is that the plaintiff is not entitled to renewal commissions after the termination of his agency. The learned Subordinate Judge who tried the suit accepted the defence and gave a partial decree for the sum of Rs. 33-5-0 which the defendant company was willing to pay. The plaintiff appealed and the District Judge upheld the decree of the trial Court. Hence this second appeal by the plaintiff. It is contended that in accordance with the contract between the plaintiff and the defendant company the plaintiff is entitled to renewal commissions even though his services had been terminated by the company. The Courts below have taken the view that, even after the acceptance of the policies introduced by the plaintiff, he had other works to do from time to time. On behalf of the appellant reliance is placed on Ex. 1 which embodies: 'The Terms of Regulations governing Canvassers.' It is pointed out that it is stipulated that the company will pay commission on proposals for Life Assurance introduced by the plaintiff and accepted by the company according to certain rates, for the first year's premium and certain other rates for subsequent years' premium or instalments paid to and received by the company. It is relevant to note however that this document is headed 'Terms of Regulations governing Canvassers,' thereby implying that the canvasser must continue to be such at the time at which the premia are paid and received by the company. Clause 9 is to this effect: 'The company is to be at liberty at any time to terminate the arrangement with the agent.' It is contended for the respondent and, I think rightly, that this applies to the whole arrangement. For the plaintiff-appellant the argument is that in the present case the plaintiff's services were only terminated and nothing was said as to the payment of commissions which were due to him. This however appears to be wrong as para. 8 of the plaint is to this effect:

That by their letter dated 30th September 1926, the defendant company informed the plaintiff that they could not agree to continue his agency of their company after 31st December 1926, on the sole ground of the plaintiff's name having been included amongst the Special Agents of the Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited and refused to pay the renewal commission already earned by the plaintiff for his services in disregard of the terms of the agreement entered into by the parties to the suit.

2. This shows that in accordance with Clause 9 the company in fact terminated the whole arrangement with the plaintiff. The next point is that both the Courts have found that as a matter of fact in this case, after the introduction of the clients by the plaintiff, something further remained to be done from time to time. It has been found that the plaintiffs' services were required when loans, etc., were negotiated, evidence of age on maturity of policies was being gone into, confidential enquiries had to be made when death occurred and so on. The plaintiff himself admitted in his evidence that there were other duties to be performed by him over and above such duties as those mentioned above. The learned Advocate for the appellant has referred us to certain passages in Blackwood Wright on Principal and Agent, Edn. 2, and the cases collected therein. All these cases were considered in Empire of India Life Assurance Co. Ltd., Bombay v. Nanu Ayyar 1921 Mad 309. It was there pointed out that one very important duty of the agent will always be to impress on the policy-holders the value of keeping up their premia and this is specially a work necessary for the earning of the premia. This is in accordance with Clause 17 of the document Ex. 1. As was stated by Lord Cairns in Lewin's case (1871) 15 S J 828 the position of a canvasser is that of an agent who, so long as he is acting for his employers, is daily or weekly soliciting advertisements or renewals. In the Madras case it so happened that there was a clause to the effect that 'The commission was allowed so long as the premiums were paid and the agent continued to represent the company.' It was held however upon a consideration of the authorities that, even if there was no such clause in the contract, where the duties of the agent do not cease with the first introduction of the customer to the principal, commissions are not to be claimed on payments made by the customer after the agency ceases. We consider that the present case is covered by the decision in the case mentioned above. The suit has been rightly decided. In the result the appeal fails and it is dismissed with costs.


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