A-16420, DECEMBER 7, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 384

A-16420: Dec 7, 1926

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THERE WAS INSURANCE IN THE AMOUNT OF $5. THE PERTINENT FACTS IN SAID CASE ARE REPRESENTED TO BE AS FOLLOWS: THE INSURED ENLISTED IN THE MILITARY SERVICE ON JUNE 1. WHICH PURPORTS TO HAVE BEEN EXECUTED FEBRUARY 12. HIS HOME ADDRESS IS GIVEN AS 1014 GREENFIELD AVENUE. BENEFICIARY IS GIVEN AS "NONE.'. "TO WHOM DO YOU WISH POLICY SENT? " WAS GIVEN AS "PRIVATE MIKE WALIGO. WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF $5. A SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION WAS SIGNED BY THE INSURED ON OCTOBER 17. IN WHICH THE AMOUNT OF THE INSURANCE IS STATED AS $5. THE HOME ADDRESS IS GIVEN AS 1159 FRUIT AVENUE. BENEFICIARY IS GIVEN AS "MYSELF.'. THE SOLDIER APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PAID REGULARLY EACH MONTH FROM FEBRUARY. STATED THAT THERE WAS $5.

A-16420, DECEMBER 7, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 384

VETERANS' BUREAU - INSURANCE - PREMIUM DEDUCTIONS FROM PAY OF ENLISTED MAN AN APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE AND AN ALLOTMENT OF PAY FOR PREMIUMS IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,000 BY AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY DO NOT OF THEMSELVES AUTHORIZE PAYMENTS OF INSURANCE UPON MATURITY ON THE BASIS OF $10,000, IF THE DEDUCTIONS OF PAY DURING THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF MILITARY SERVICE COVERED ONLY $5,000, AND ALL THE ACTIONS OF THE INSURED INDICATED AN INTENTION TO CARRY ONLY $5,000 OF INSURANCE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, DECEMBER 7, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER IN THE CASE OF MIKE (OR MICHAEL) WALIGO (OR VALIGO), C-167192, THERE WAS INSURANCE IN THE AMOUNT OF $5,000, OR IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,000 IN FORCE AT THE DATE OF HIS DEATH IN THE MILITARY SERVICE.

THE PERTINENT FACTS IN SAID CASE ARE REPRESENTED TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

THE INSURED ENLISTED IN THE MILITARY SERVICE ON JUNE 1, 1917. IN THE APPLICATION FOR $10,000 INSURANCE, WHICH PURPORTS TO HAVE BEEN EXECUTED FEBRUARY 12, 1918, HIS HOME ADDRESS IS GIVEN AS 1014 GREENFIELD AVENUE, FARRELL, PA., AND BENEFICIARY IS GIVEN AS "NONE.' THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION,"TO WHOM DO YOU WISH POLICY SENT? " WAS GIVEN AS "PRIVATE MIKE WALIGO, TRENCH MORTAR BATTERY, 3RD DIV.REG.' PAY ROLLS SIGNED BY THE INSURED SHOW THAT PREMIUM CHECK AGE FROM FEBRUARY TO OCTOBER, 1918, WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF $5,000 INSURANCE.

A SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION WAS SIGNED BY THE INSURED ON OCTOBER 17, 1918, IN WHICH THE AMOUNT OF THE INSURANCE IS STATED AS $5,000. THE HOME ADDRESS IS GIVEN AS 1159 FRUIT AVENUE, FARRELL, ., AND BENEFICIARY IS GIVEN AS "MYSELF.' THE APPLICATION FURTHER SHOWS: "I WISH INSURANCE CERTIFICATE SENT TO: MY UNCLE JOHN RIMAKE, 1159 FRUIT AVE., FARRELL, PENNA., " AND ALSO CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING NOTATION:

THIS SUPPLEMENTAL FORM MADE OUT TO COMPLETE RECORDS. ORIGINAL APPLICATION MADE OUT ABOUT FEB. 7TH OR 8TH, 1918, BUT NO COPY OF SAME WITH SERVICE RECORD; HENCE THIS APPLICATION TO COMPLETE RECORD.

THE SOLDIER APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PAID REGULARLY EACH MONTH FROM FEBRUARY, 1918, TO FEBRUARY, 1919, AND THE PAY ROLLS SHOW CHECK AGE FOR INSURANCE IN THE SUM OF $5,000 FOR EACH MONTH DURING THE ENTIRE PERIOD. THE INSURED DIED MARCH 11, 1919. THE REPORTS OF THE ARMY AUTHORITIES DATED MARCH 17, 1919, RELATIVE TO THE DEATH OF INSURED, STATED THAT THERE WAS $5,000 INSURANCE IN FORCE AT DATE OF DEATH.

IT FURTHER APPEARS FROM THE NOTATION CONTAINED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION THAT THE COMPANY FILES DID NOT CONTAIN A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION AND THAT THE INSURED WAS ASKED TO EXECUTE SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION FOR PURPOSES OF RECORD ONLY. THIS APPLICATION AUTHORIZED DEDUCTION OF PREMIUMS ON INSURANCE IN THE SUM OF $5,000.

THE QUESTION INVOLVED IS WHETHER THE APPLICATION FOR $10,000 INSURANCE AND THE ALLOTMENT OF PAY THEREFOR KEPT IN FORCE THAT AMOUNT OF INSURANCE UNTIL MATURITY BY DEATH OF THE INSURED, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT ACTUAL DEDUCTIONS WERE MADE FROM HIS PAY TO COVER ONLY $5,000 OF INSURANCE AND HIS AFFIRMATIVE ACT OF SIGNING THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION WHEREIN THE AMOUNT OF THE INSURANCE WAS STATED AS $5,000.

IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED THAT AS THE INSURED WAS AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY, HIS ACCEPTANCE OF MONTHLY PAY WITH DEDUCTIONS OF PREMIUMS TO COVER ONLY $5,000 INSURANCE MAY NOT BE TAKEN AS A BREACH OR REVOCATION OF THE ORIGINAL ALLOTMENT TO THE EXTENT OF THE REMAINING $5,000 INSURANCE, REFERENCE BEING MADE IN THIS CONNECTION TO THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE IN THE CASE OF ANTHONY ALFRED SKOMSKI, 3 COMP. GEN. 202.

IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 208, 209, IT WAS STATED:

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT THE MERE ALLOTMENT OR OTHER FORM OF AUTHORIZATION FOR DEDUCTION FROM THE PAY OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES TO COVER WAR-RISK INSURANCE PREMIUMS IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO ACTUAL PAYMENT OF THE PREMIUMS, AND DOES NOT IPSO FACTO PREVENT LAPSING OF THIS POLICY. ARMY OFFICERS, 2 COMP. GEN. 249, AND DECISION OF DECEMBER 5, 1923; NAVY OFFICERS, 4 COMP. GEN. 691; NAVY ENLISTED MEN. 3 COMP. GEN. 202. THERE EXISTS NO SOUND REASON FOR ANY DIFFERENT RULE WITH RESPECT TO ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY.

ONE OF THE CONTRACTUAL CONDITIONS OF GOVERNMENT INSURANCE IS THE MONTHLY PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS BY THE INSURED. THE ALLOTMENT SYSTEM IS AMEDIUM THROUGH WHICH PERSONS IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICES MAY CONVENIENTLY EFFECT PAYMENT OF THEIR PREMIUMS. NO RESPONSIBILITY RESTS UPON THE GOVERNMENT IN THE CAPACITY OF INSURER IF THERE IS SUCH A FAILURE OF THE ALLOTMENT SYSTEM AS TO PREVENT PAYMENT OF THE PREMIUMS TO THE GOVERNMENT WHEN DUE. THE INSURED WHO ACCEPTS HIS PAY WITH KNOWLEDGE, ACTUAL OR PRESUMPTIVE, THAT THE AMOUNT OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS HAS NOT BEEN DEDUCTED, IS IN NO BETTER POSITION THAN A PERSON OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO FAILS TO FORWARD HIS INSURANCE PREMIUMS TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU WHEN DUE.

BY PRESUMPTIVE KNOWLEDGE IS MEANT THE KNOWLEDGE TO BE PRESUMED FROM THE ACCEPTANCE OF FULL PAY, OR OF SUCH AMOUNTS AS WOULD NOT LEAVE SUFFICIENT PAY REMAINING DUE TO COVER INSURANCE PREMIUMS AS AND WHEN PAYABLE. COMP. GEN. 693.

IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE DECISIONS HAVE NEVER RECOGNIZED A DISTINCTION IN REGARD TO THIS PRINCIPLE OF LAW SIMPLY ON THE BASIS OF THE RANK OR RATING OF THE INSURED; THAT IS, BETWEEN COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN. THE DISTINCTION THAT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY THE DECISIONS HAS BEEN THAT, BECAUSE OF THE DIFFERENCE IN THE METHOD OF PAYING COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN AND THE GREATER KNOWLEDGE AND FAMILIARITY WITH THE PAY ACCOUNTS OF THE COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, THEY ARE IN A BETTER POSITION THAN ENLISTED MEN TO DETERMINE THAT THE PROPER DEDUCTIONS OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS HAVE BEEN MADE AND HAVE A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT THERETO.

PROBABLY IN NO CASE WHERE INSUFFICIENT DEDUCTIONS WERE MADE CAN IT BE DETERMINED, WITH ABSOLUTELY CERTAINTY, SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF THE INSURED, THAT THE INSURED DID OR DID NOT INTEND THE DEDUCTIONS TO BE IN A GREATER AMOUNT THAN MADE. THERE CAN BE NO GENERAL PRESUMPTION OF INTENTION CONTRARY TO WHAT WAS ACTUALLY DONE.

IN THIS CASE THE INSURED ACCEPTED HIS PAY EACH MONTH FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR WITH DEDUCTIONS FOR PREMIUMS COVERING ONLY $5,000 OF INSURANCE. FACT, NO DEDUCTIONS WERE EVER MADE FROM HIS PAY TO COVER $10,000 OF INSURANCE. HE ALSO SIGNED A SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION, AFTER THE DEDUCTIONS HAD BEEN MADE FOR ABOUT A YEAR ON $5,000 OF INSURANCE, WHEREIN $5,000 WAS GIVEN AS THE AMOUNT OF THE INSURANCE. HE IS PRESUMED TO HAVE READ THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION BEFORE PLACING HIS SIGNATURE THERETO; IN FACT, CHANGES WERE MADE AS TO THE DISPOSITION TO BE MADE OF THE POLICY. IT WOULD SEEM TO BE MORE REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE ERROR IN THE AMOUNT WAS IN THE APPLICATION BEARING DATE OF FEBRUARY 12, 1918, RATHER THAN IN THE ONE OF OCTOBER 17, 1918, OR THAT THE INSURED LATER DECIDED THAT HE WOULD CARRY ONLY $5,000 OF INSURANCE. CERTAINLY, FROM ALL THE ACTIONS OF THE INSURED, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THERE WAS NO CLEAR INTENTION SHOWN ON HIS PART TO HAVE PREMIUMS DEDUCTED TO COVER $10,000 INSURANCE UP TO THE DATE OF HIS DEATH.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT PAYMENTS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED ON THE BASIS OF MORE THAN $5,000 INSURANCE BEING IN FORCE AT THE DATE OF MATURITY BY THE DEATH OF THE INSURED, MARCH 11, 1919.