Perez v. CA- Perfection of the Contract of Insurance

323 SCRA 613 (2000)


>  Primitivo Perez had been insured with the BF Lifeman Insurance Corporation since 1980 for P20,000.00.

>  In October 1987, an agent of Lifeman, Rodolfo Lalog, visited Perez in Quezon and convinced him to apply for additional insurance coverage of P50,000.00, to avail of the ongoing promotional discount of P400.00 if the premium were paid annually.

>  Primitivo B. Perez accomplished an application form for the additional insurance coverage.  Virginia A. Perez, his wife, paid P2,075.00 to Lalog. The receipt issued by Lalog indicated the amount received was a "deposit."

>  Unfortunately, Lalog lost the application form accomplished by Perez and so on October 28, 1987, he asked the latter to fill up another application form. On November 1, 1987, Perez was made to undergo the required medical examination, which he passed.

>  Lalog forwarded the application for additional insurance of Perez, together with all its supporting papers, to the office of BF Lifeman Insurance Corporationn in Quezon which office was supposed to forward the papers to the Manila office.

>  On November 25, 1987, Perez died while he was riding a banca which capsized during a storm.

>  At the time of his death, his application papers for the additional insurance were still with the Quezon office. Lalog testified that when he went to follow up the papers, he found them still in the Quezon office and so he personally brought the papers to the Manila office of BF Lifeman Insurance Corporation. It was only on November 27, 1987 that said papers were received in Manila.

>  Without knowing that Perez died on November 25, 1987, BF Lifeman Insurance Corporation approved the application and issued the corresponding policy for the P50,000.00 on December 2, 1987

>  Virginia went to Manila to claim the benefits under the insurance policies of the deceased. She was paid P40,000.00 under the first insurance policy for P20,000.00 (double indemnity in case of accident) but the insurance company refused to pay the claim under the additional policy coverage of P50,000.00, the proceeds of which amount to P150,000.00 in view of a triple indemnity rider on the insurance policy.

>  In its letter of January 29, 1988 to Virginia A. Perez, the insurance company maintained that the insurance for P50,000.00 had not been perfected at the time of the death of Primitivo Perez. Consequently, the insurance company refunded the amount of P2,075.00 which Virginia Perez had paid

>  Lifeman filed for the rescission and the declaration of nullity.  Perez, on the other hand, averred that the deceased had fulfilled all his prestations under the contract and all the elements of a valid contract are present.

>  RTC ruled in favor of Perez.  CA reversed.


Whether or not there was a perfected additional insurance contract.


The contract was not perfected.

Insurance is a contract whereby, for a stipulated consideration, one party undertakes to compensate the other for loss on a specified subject by specified perils.  A contract, on the other hand, is a meeting of the minds between two persons whereby one binds himself, with respect to the other to give something or to render some service.

Consent must be manifested by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the contract. The offer must be certain and the acceptance absolute. When Primitivo filed an application for insurance, paid P2,075.00 and submitted the results of his medical examination, his application was subject to the acceptance of private respondent BF Lifeman Insurance Corporation. The perfection of the contract of insurance between the deceased and respondent corporation was further conditioned upon compliance with the following requisites stated in the application form:

"there shall be no contract of insurance unless and until a policy is issued on this application and that the said policy shall not take effect until the premium has been paid and the policy delivered to and accepted by me/us in person while I/We, am/are in good health."

The assent of private respondent BF Lifeman Insurance Corporation therefore was not given when it merely received the application form and all the requisite supporting papers of the applicant. Its assent was given when it issues a corresponding policy to the applicant. Under the abovementioned provision, it is only when the applicant pays the premium and receives and accepts the policy while he is in good health that the contract of insurance is deemed to have been perfected.

It is not disputed, however, that when Primitivo died on November 25, 1987, his application papers for additional insurance coverage were still with the branch office of respondent corporation in Gumaca and it was only two days later, or on November 27, 1987, when Lalog personally delivered the application papers to the head office in Manila. Consequently, there was absolutely no way the acceptance of the application could have been communicated to the applicant for the latter to accept inasmuch as the applicant at the time was already dead.