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HARTY v. STANDARD ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY (01/05/59)

January 5, 1959

HARTY
v.
STANDARD ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 283, Jan. T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1954, No. 11,288, in case of Marie Quinn Harty v. Standard Accident Insurance Company. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Glenn A. Troutman, with him McWilliams, Wagoner & Troutman, for appellant.

Herman Lang Sundheim, with him Elias Magil, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and Bok, JJ.

Author: Bok

[ 394 Pa. Page 359]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.

The question before us is whether or not there was a substitution of one insurance policy for another.

There was an effort to issue group health and accident insurance to the Pennsylvania Realtors Association, but they were held by the Attorney General not to be professional persons and the policies were therefore issued to them individually.

Plaintiff's husband received his policy in 1948 and by successive renewals maintained it until March 31, 1954. This policy contained a thirty-one days' grace period and required sixty days' notice to terminate it. There was no provision against suicide. Harty killed himself on April 28, 1954: the question of his mental illness was submitted to the jury at trial, and they found him insane. This is not now in issue.

The dispute before us arises out of another policy for which the decedent paid, on April 5, 1954, a larger premium. Plaintiff admitted that a new policy was issued to her husband, effective April 1, 1954, and it is agreed that no termination notice was given under the first policy and that the second policy, unlike the first, had a suicide clause.

There is no doubt that the second policy was different. Its issuance was preceded by correspondence. The Company had had unfavorable loss experience under

[ 394 Pa. Page 360]

    the first policy and issued a letter asking the holders of those policies to complete a form, which was enclosed, and return it if they wished "to make a change in... present coverage." The deceased did not do this. The Company also sent out a brochure saying that a new application must be completed and returned: he made none. His insurance agency wrote him that unless they heard from him they would assume that he wished "to continue... present coverage under the revised form policy..." He did nothing but pay the increased premium, ...


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