No. 969 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 5140 November Term, 1976.
Peter C. Paul, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Daniel E. Bacine, Philadelphia, for appellees.
Spaeth, Brosky and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 452]
Appellees are co-administratrices and sole heirs of decedent, Rose Weinberg. Mrs. Weinberg was employed by St. Christopher's Hospital for Children (hereinafter "St. Christopher's")
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 453]
until September 29, 1975. During the term of her employment, St. Christopher's maintained a plan of life insurance under a group policy with Northwestern National Life Insurance Company (hereinafter "Northwestern"). The policy was in St. Christopher's name. Under the terms of the policy, Mrs. Weinberg was entitled, upon termination of her employment, to convert her coverage under the group policy to coverage under an individual policy, by applying for and paying the applicable premium within thirty-one (31) days after termination of her employment. Evidence of insurability is not required. The policy also provides that if the insured dies during the thirty-one day period, the amount of life insurance the insured would have been entitled to convert will be paid as a claim under the group policy, regardless of whether or nor the insured made application and paid the first premium for the individual policy.
If the insured is not notified of the conversion privilege at least fifteen days prior to the expiration of the thirty-one day period, the insured is entitled to an additional sixty day period in which to exercise such right.*fn1 Thus, the decedent had a total of 91 days in which to exercise her conversion privilege, or until December 30, 1975. Mrs. Weinberg never received written notice of her right to convert her policy, however, and died December 9, 1975, 71 days after termination of her employment, without converting her policy.
Appellees aver that they are the beneficiaries of their mother's policy. They argue that their mother's death within the 91 day statutory period may be deemed equivalent to the exercise of her right of conversion. It was under this theory that they sought recovery of the amount of insurance to which they claim their mother would have been entitled under an individual policy. The case was tried before an arbitration panel, who awarded appellees the sum of $2,833.99 plus interest. Both St. Christopher's and Northwestern appealed from the award.
Thereafter, all of the parties filed motions for summary judgment. The lower court entered an order in favor of
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 454]
appellees and against both the employer, St. Christopher's, and the insurer, Northwestern.*fn2 The ...