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U.S. Supreme Court

Miles v. Connecticut Mut. Life Ins. Co., 147 U.S. 177 (1893)

Miles v. Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company

No. 92

Submitted December 14, 1892

Decided January 9, 1893

147 U.S. 177


A policy of life insurance was issued, insuring the life of a husband for the benefit of his wife, for $5,000 for life, a premium named to be paid annually, and, if not paid, the policy to cease. It was made at the instance of the husband, he paid with his own money all the premiums which were paid, being nine, the policy remained always in his possession, and the wife had nothing to do with it. Before the tenth premium became due, the husband advised the company that he could not pay that premium, and wished to take out a paid-up policy under a provision therefor. The company advised him not ,to do so but to have so much of the $5,000 released as would enable him, with the sum allowed for such release, to pay what would be due as a premium on the remainder. He agreed to do so, and presented to the company what purported to be a receipt signed by his wife for $82.39, as a consideration for the release of $700 of the $5,000, the $82.39 being applied toward the premium on the $4,300 policy. Thereupon the husband received a policy for $4,300 insurance on his life for his wife's benefit, bearing the same number as the $5000 policy, with less annual premium. A year later, he advised the company that he chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 147 U. S. 178

could not pay the premium on the $4,300 policy, and took a paid-up policy for $1,195 on his life for the benefit of his wife, having first given the company what purported to be a receipt signed by his wife for $583.24 as a consideration for all claims on account of "policy No." so and so, released, the $583.24 being applied in payment of a premium on a participating paid-up policy for $1195. The wife's name on both receipts was written by the husband without her assent. In a suit on the $5,000 policy brought by the wife, the company set up the nonpayment of any premium on it after the date of the $4,300 policy. Held that that was a good defense, and that there was nothing to justify the failure to pay the premiums.

The cases of Manhattan Life Ins. Co. v. Smith, 44 Ohio St. 156; Whitehead v. New York Life Ins. Co., 102 N.Y. 143, and Garner v. Germanic Life Ins. Co., 110 N.Y. 2G6; distinguished.

This was an action to recover on a policy of life insurance. Trial, verdict for the defendant, and judgment on the verdict, to review which this writ of error was sued out. The case is stated in the opinion.

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