Insurance Company v. Mowry - 96 U.S. 544 (1877)


U.S. Supreme Court

Insurance Company v. Mowry, 96 U.S. 544 (1877)

Insurance Company v. Mowry

96 U.S. 544

Syllabus

1. The only case where a representation as to the future can operate as an estoppel is where it relates to the purposed abandonment of an existing right, and was intended to influence, and has influenced, the conduct of the party to whom it was made. A promise as to future action, touching a right dependent upon a contract to be thereafter entered into, does not create an estoppel.

2. The promise of an insurance company, that if a party will take out a policy he shall be notified when to pay the annual premiums before he shall be required to pay them, will not, although such notice is not given, estop the company from setting up the forfeiture which, according to the terms of the policy subsequently accepted, was incurred on the nonpayment of the premium when due.

3. The policy issued by the company and accepted by the assured must, in a court of law, be taken as expressing the final agreement of the parties, and as merging all previous verbal stipulations.

4. The court in this case holds that the authority of the local agent of the company was limited to countersigning the policy and receiving the premiums.

This was an action by Daniel A. Mowry, upon a policy of insurance for the sum of $10,000, issued to him, for his sole benefit, by the Union Mutual Life Insurance Company -- a corporation created by the laws of Maine -- upon the life of Nelson H. Mowry.

The facts of the case and the instructions to the jury are stated in the opinion of the Court.

The concluding clause of the policy is as follows:

"But the same [the policy] shall not be binding until countersigned and delivered by John Shepley, agent at Providence, R.I., nor until the advance premium is paid."

There was a verdict for the plaintiff; and, judgment having been rendered thereon, the defendant sued out this writ of error.

Page 96 U. S. 545



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