Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Biagtan vs. Insurance Life Assurance Company, Ltd.

Facts: Juan Biagtan was insured with defendant for the sum of P5000 and, under a supplementary contract denominated “Accidental Death Benefit Clause” for an additional P5000 if the death of the insured resulted directly from bodily injury effected solely through external and violent means sustained in an accident and independently of all other causes. The clause expressly provided that it would not apply where death resulted from an injury intentionally inflicted by a third party. 

Sometime in May 1964, a band of robbers entered the house of the insured. The insured received thrusts from the robbers' sharp-pointed instruments, causing wounds resulting in his death. Plaintiffs, as beneficiaries, filed a claim under the policy. Defendant paid the basic amount of P5000 but refused to pay the additional P5000 on the ground that the death of the insured resulted from injuries intentionally inflicted by third persons. Plaintiffs filed suit to recover and the court rendered judgment in their favor. Hence, present appeal by the insurer. 

Issue: Whether or not the wounds received were inflicted intentionally. 

Held: YES. Nine wounds were inflicted upon the deceased, all by means of thrusts with sharp-pointed instruments wielded by the robbers. Whether the robbers had the intent to kill or merely to scare the victim or to ward off any defense he might offer, it cannot be denied that the act itself of inflicting injuries was intentional. Where a gang of robbers enter a house and coming face to face with the owner, even if unexpectedly, stab him repeatedly, it is contrary to all reason and logic to say that his injuries are not intentionally inflicted, regardless of whether they prove fatal or not. 

It has been held that “intentional” as used in an accident policy excepting intentional injuries inflicted by the insured or any other person implies the exercise of the reasoning faculties, consciousness, and volition. Where a provision of the policy excludes intentional injury, it is the intention of the person inflicting the injury that is controlling. If the injuries suffered by the insured clearly resulted from the intentional act of a third person, the insurer is relieved from liability as stipulated.

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