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EVANS v. BALTIMORE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (06/11/70)

decided: June 11, 1970.

EVANS, APPELLANT,
v.
BALTIMORE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, July T., 1967, No. 94, in case of Mary Ellen Evans v. The Baltimore Life Insurance Company.

COUNSEL

Bernard S. Shire, with him Ezerski, Shire and Bergstein, for appellant.

Daniel J. Snyder, with him Costello & Snyder, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Spaulding, J. Cercone, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Spaulding

[ 216 Pa. Super. Page 426]

Mary Ellen Evans, appellant, purchased a policy of insurance from The Baltimore Life Insurance Company, appellee, on September 1, 1963. That policy was in face amount of $1000 with an accidental death benefit rider which provided for double indemnity and in certain stated circumstances, triple indemnity. Albert Charles Evans, Jr., appellant's son, was designated on the policy as one of the "insured children" under the provision entitled "Provision for Term Insurance Benefit on Insured Children." He was killed in an automobile accident on May 5, 1967, which would entitle the policy beneficiary, appellant, to the double indemnity proceeds, if the deceased was covered under the rider.

Baltimore Life Insurance Company paid the face amount of the policy, but refused the double indemnity coverage under the rider. Appellant was awarded double indemnity proceeds by a Board of Arbitrators and this award was reversed by the Common Pleas Court of Westmoreland County on September 29, 1969. Appellant appeals the order of that court.

The issue before this Court is whether as a matter of law the provisions of the accidental death benefit apply to "insured children" as well as to the "insured."

[ 216 Pa. Super. Page 427]

The court below relied on an unreported Allegheny County decision, Masullo v. The Baltimore Life Insurance Company, filed October 18, 1966. That case held that the language of the accidental death benefit provision of appellee Company did not make double indemnity payments available to the beneficiaries of insured children. While we find that case persuasive, we do not consider it binding since the specific contractual language has never been subject to appellate review.

The relevant portions of the insurance policy are set forth below:

The Insured Children, as defined herein, are insured under this Policy when fifteen days of age or older. Term Insurance is provided on the life of each such Child for an amount equal to the face amount. Such term insurance expires at the earlier of (1) ...


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