Saturday, March 31, 2012

Enriquez vs. Sun Life Assurance Co. [GR No. 15895; November 29, 1920]

Facts: Plaintiff is estate administrator for late Joaquin Herrer. Herrer has pending application with defendant Sun Life Assurance Co (sun Life) evidenced by a provisional receipt. The provisional receipt reads payment of Php6, 000 for life annuity received 26 September 1917. The application was received by Sun Life head office a month after. 

04 December 1917, the policy was issued in Montreal. A petition for withdrawal of application was filed by Herrer’s lawyer 18 December 1917. Herrer died 20 December. A letter from Sun Life was received 21 December stating policy was issued and reminds the party of a notification of acceptance of the application dated 26 November. 

Plaintiff testified that he had found no letter of notification from the Sun Life. 

Lower Court decides in favor of respondent. Appeal was taken. 

Issue: Whether or not the there has been a valid offer and acceptance?? 

Held: None. The Civil Code provides that the acceptance made by letter binds the person making the offer only from the date it has came to its knowledge. The contract of life annuity was not perfected. There was no satisfactory evidence that the application acceptance came to the knowledge of Herrer. 

Article 16 of the civil code provides that any deficiency in the special law shall be supplied by the Code. The Insurance Code does not provide for law on the principle of acceptance, thus the Civil Code shall govern. 

Article 1262 provides that consent is shown by concurrence of offer and acceptance with the thing and the consideration to the contract. The acceptance by letter shall not bind the person making the offer except from the time It came to his knowledge. 

American Courts held that acceptance of offer not actually communicated does not complete the contract but the mailing of the acceptance. Locus Poenitrntiae is ended when acceptance has passed beyond party’s control. 

Furthermore, the provisional receipt provides for conditions before a contract is deemed final. 1. Medical examination. 2. Approval by head office of the application. 3. the company communicates approval to the applicant. 

In the case, there was no letter of notification. No evidence of knowledge. Judgment reversed. Php6000 with interest is to be returned. 

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