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U.S. Supreme Court

New York Life Ins. Co. v. Deer Lodge County, 231 U.S. 495 (1913)

New York Life Insurance Company v. Deer Lodge County

No. 5

Argued November 11, 1913

Decided December 15, 1913

231 U.S. 495


The sanction of the rule of stare decisis urges this Court against reversing a long series of decisions where state legislation has been enacted in reliance thereon and the reversal would involve the promulgation of a new rule of constitutional inhibition on state legislation necessitating readjustment of policy and laws.

After reviewing Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall. 168, decided by this Court in 1868, and other cases in which that case was followed, this Court adheres to the decisions in those cases to the effect that the issuing of an insurance policy is not commerce, but a personal contract, and that the regulations of a state in regard to policies delivered in the state by nonresident insurance corporations and taxes imposed on said corporations are not, if otherwise legal, unconstitutional as a burden upon interstate commerce. The Lottery Cases, 188 U. S. 321, and International Textbook Co. v. Pigg, 217 U. S. 91, distinguished. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 231 U. S. 496

The fact that there are great numbers of transaction therein does not give to a business any other character than magnitude; it cannot transform a business from one which is subject to state regulation to one beyond that regulation as interstate.

The fact that the mails are used in consummating contracts for insurance between a corporation in one state and the insured in another does not give character to the negotiation or the contract, nor does it make the latter interstate commerce.

The fact that, after the insured receives his policy of insurance, it becomes subject to sale and transfer does not make the business of issuing it commerce.

The statute of Montana imposing a tax on insurance corporations doing business in the state measured by the excess of premiums received over losses and expenses incurred within the state is not unconstitutional as a burden on, or interference with, interstate commerce.

43 Mont. 243 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Montana imposing certain taxes on insurance corporations, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 231 U. S. 498

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