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U.S. Supreme Court

Giddings v. Insurance Company, 102 U.S. 108 (1880)

Giddings v. Insurance Company

102 U.S. 108


The charter of A., a mutual life insurance company, provides that

"Every person who shall become a member of the corporation by effecting insurance therein shall, the first time he effects insurance and before he receives his policy, pay the rates that shall be fixed upon and determined by the trustees."

In August, 1872, C., A.'s agent, received from B. an application for a policy upon his life for $6,000, duly made out upon a printed form furnished previously by C. A policy was issued by A. August 24 and forwarded to C. It contains a proviso that it shall

"not take effect and become binding on the company until the premium be actually paid, during the lifetime of the person whose life is assured, to the company or to some person authorized to receive it, who shall countersign the policy on receipt of the premium."

The premium to be paid by B. amounted to $302.52. The policy not having been called for, C. returned it October 2 to A., and it was thereupon cancelled. Nothing beyond the delivery of the application to C. was done by B., or by

anyone in his behalf. He died September 4. His administrator tendered the first premium to C., who declined to act in the matter. Thereupon he transmitted the proofs of B.'s death to A., and on the refusal of the latter to accept the premium and deliver the policy brought this suit against A. Held that the suit cannot be maintained, the payment of the premium in the lifetime of B. being a condition precedent to A.'s liability.

Page 102 U. S. 109

This is a suit in equity by Loren Giddings and Leander Giddings, administrators of Silas Giddings, deceased, to compel the specific performance, by the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, of its alleged contract, made with him some months prior to his death, to insure his life in the sum of $6,000. The court below dismissed the bill, whereupon the complainants appealed here.

The remaining facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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