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U.S. Supreme Court

National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Wanberg, 260 U.S. 71 (1922)

National Union Fire Insurance Company v. Wanberg

No. 32

Submitted October 6, 1922

Decided November 13, 1922

260 U.S. 71


1. The law of North Dakota (Comp.Laws 1913, § 4902), providing that every insurance company engaged in the business of insuring against loss by hail in that state shall be bound, and the insurance shall take effect, from and after twenty-four hours from the taking of an application therefor by a local agent of the company, and requiring such a company, if it would decline the insurance upon receipt of the application, forthwith to notify the applicant and the agent by telegram, does not deprive such companies of their liberty of contract, and so of their property, without due process of law, or deny them the equal protection of the laws. P. 260 U. S. 73.

2. The public interest arising from sudden and localized losses of crops inflicted by hail in North Dakota, and the high rate of insurance for such risks, as well as other distinctions, justify special legislative treatment of this kind of insurance. P. 260 U. S. 74.

3. The fact that the time requirements of the statute may bear more heavily upon foreign than upon local insurance companies is a circumstance incident to the conduct of business in the state of which a foreign company cannot complain. P. 260 U. S. 75.

4. The statute does not force the company to contract, since it does not compel acceptance of applications or deny the right to require prepayment of premium, or the right to cancel insurance in the usual way; the time allowed for rejecting applications, though short, is not unreasonable under the circumstances, nor is the company left without means of distributing its risks in locality so as to avoid disastrous losses from particular storms. P. 260 U. S. 76.

5 The statute being valid, an applicant's agreement that his application shall not take effect until received and accepted at the company's agency is void, and does not bind him. P. 260 U. S. 77.

46 N.D. 369 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of North Dakota affirming a recovery upon a contract of hail insurance.

Page 260 U. S. 72

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