Gercio vs. Sunlife Assurance, 48 Phil. 53 (1925)
In 1910, Sunlife issued a 20 year life insurance policy in favor of Grecio – whose beneficiary is his wife, Andrea. In 1922, a decree of divorce was issued which dissolved the onds of matrimony contracted by Gercio and Andrea.
In 1922, Grecio filed a mandamus to compel Sunlife to change the beneficiary in the policy of his life insurance from Andrea Zialcita, his former wife to Adela Garcia(present wife). Sunlife refuses to change since the policy did not include any provision reserving to the insured the right to change the beneficiary. The lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
(a) WON the insured has the power to change the beneficiary, where the insured and the beneficiary have been divorced, and where the policy of insurance does not expressly reserve to the insured the right to change the beneficiary.
NO. The Insurance Act applies however it must conform as nearly as possible to the modern Law of Insurance as found in the United States proper.
If the policy contains no provision authorizing a change of beneficiary without the beneficiary’s consent, the insured cannot make such change. Accordingly, it is held that a life insurance policy of a husband made payable to the wife as beneficiary, is the separate property of the beneficiary and beyond the control of the husband.
Since the decree of divorce is not permitted in the Philippine Law therefore, a subsequent divorce does not destroy her rights under the policy.
Notes – the Code of Commerce is applicable, yet there can be found in it no provision either permitting or prohibiting the insured to change the beneficiary.
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