Life insurance attorneys will run into a surprising amount of cases that are unique unto themselves. This case is that way. The Facts are long but need to be understood to understand how the Court ruled the way it did. This is a 1959 opinion from the Texas Supreme Court. It is styled, Republic Nat. Life Ins. Co. v. Hall.
Ms. Hall sued Republic after Republic denied her claim for life insurance benefits for the stated reason that the contract was never completed.
There has not been any material dispute about the facts, which in substance are as follows: The deceased, who resided in California but was President of Weatherford Manufacturing Co., of Weatherford, Texas, made application at Weatherford in the latter part of March 1949, for a twenty-year-payment type of policy in the amount of $20,000 through a Mr. Coder, the local soliciting agent of petitioner, on petitioner’s usual printed form, which Mr. Hall, of course, signed. At that time, Mr. Hall was 36 years old, and was evidently understood by himself and the soliciting agent to be in some undetermined degree “overweight” from a life-underwriting standpoint, so as probably to require of him a premium higher in some unknown amount than that of approximately $640 per year, which was normal for an applicant of his age. The agent testified that he told Mr. Hall, “I didn’t know what the rate would be; that it would have to be a special rate case.” At the same time he testified as follows: “Q. What did George (Mr. Hall) tell you in response to that; he told you he wanted the insurance? A. Yes; I told him that was what we could get.” Mr. Hall’s secretary was allowed to testify that on the date of the application and in the presence of the agent, Mr. Hall told her that he was going on a trip to the West, wanted insurance and that “when these policies came in I was to put them in the safe.” (A “group” policy was also involved in the negotiations but not in this suit.) Previously to these transactions, Mr. Hall had been negotiating with another company than petitioner and had been quoted an annual premium rate of $40 per $1,000 of insurance but had evidently gone no further with these negotiations, and told petitioner’s agent, “I want you to beat that other man’s premium.” It was also understood between Mr. Hall and the petitioner’s agent that, Hall being a licensed airplane pilot, accustomed to fly the plane of his company on business trips, the insurance would include coverage for death suffered in any such flight, the additional premium for such coverage being an amount evidently not subject to variation and Hall having executed contemporaneously with his application the usual company form questionnaire describing his flying activities.