German Alliance Ins. Co. v. Hale - 219 U.S. 307 (1911)
U.S. Supreme Court
German Alliance Ins. Co. v. Hale, 219 U.S. 307 (1911)
German Alliance Ins. Co. v. Hale
Argued and submitted November 29, 1910
Decided January 16, 1911
219 U.S. 307
The business of fire insurance is of an extensive and peculiar character, concerning a large number of people, and it is within the police power of the state to adopt such regulations as will protect the public against the evils arising from combinations of those engaged in such business, and to substitute competition for monopoly, and regulations which have a real substantial relation to that end and are not essentially arbitrary do not deprive the insurance companies of their property without due process of law.
All corporations, associations and individuals within its jurisdiction are subject to such regulations in respect of their relative rights and duties as the state may, in the exercise of its police power and in harmony with its own and the federal Constitution, prescribe for the public convenience and the general good, and the state may also prescribe, within such limits, the particular means of enforcing such regulations.
Although the means devised by the state legislature for the enforcement of its police regulations may not be the best that can be devised, this Court cannot declare them illegal if the enactment is within the power of the state.
A state is not bound to go to the full extent of its power in legislating against an evil from which it seeks to protect the public.
A statute which applies equally to all of the same class and under like conditions does not deny equal protection of the law.
A statute that applies to all insurance companies which unite with others in fixing rates to be charged by each constituent member of the combination does not deny equal protection of the law to the companies so uniting. The classification is neither unreasonable nor arbitrary, but has a reasonable and just relation to the evil which the legislation seeks to prevent.
Where defendant takes no exception to action of the trial court in sustaining demurrer to one of his pleas, but goes to trial on the merits, introduces evidence on other issues, and does not offer evidence on those raised by that plea, this Court may fairly assume that he waived or abandoned it on the trial even if he has assigned as error the action of the court in sustaining the demurrer.
Sections 2619, 2620 of the Code of Alabama, 1896, as amended, § 4954, 4955, Code 1907, imposing on all insurance companies who are connected with a tariff association a liability to be recovered by the insured of twenty-five percent in excess of the amount of the policy are not unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment as depriving such companies of their property without due process of law or denying them the equal protection of the laws.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Code of Alabama, are stated in the opinion.