Commercial Mut. Marine Ins. Co. v. Union Mut. Ins. Co.
60 U.S. 318 (1856)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Commercial Mut. Marine Ins. Co. v. Union Mut. Ins. Co., 60 U.S. 19 How. 318 318 (1856)

Commercial Mutual Marine Insurance Company

v. Union Mutual Insurance Company

60 U.S. (19 How.) 318

Syllabus

Where application for reinsurance was made on Saturday, upon certain terms, which were declined, and other terms demanded, and on Monday these last-mentioned terms were accepted by the applicant, and assented to by the president, but the policy not made out, because Monday was a holiday, the agreement to issue the policy must be considered as legally binding.

The law of Massachusetts is that although insurance companies can make valid policies only when attested by the signatures of the president and secretary, yet they can make agreements to issue policies in a less formal mode.

By the common law, a promise for a valuable consideration to make a policy is not required to be in writing, and there is no statute in Massachusetts which is inconsistent with this doctrine.

Where the power of the president to make contracts for insurance is not denied in the answer, or made a point in issue in the court below, it is sufficient to bind the company if the other party shows that such had been the practice, and thereby an idea held out to the public that the president had such power.

It is not essential to the existence of a binding contract to make insurance, that a premium note should have been actually signed and delivered.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

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