A-7315, FEBRUARY 13, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 690

A-7315: Feb 13, 1925

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INSURANCE ON PUBLIC PROPERTY THE INCURRING OF EXPENSE FOR INSURING PUBLIC PROPERTY BEING TRANSPORTED IS ORDINARILY NOT AUTHORIZED AS IT IS THE POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME ITS OWN RISKS. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT INSURANCE WAS REQUESTED IN WRITING BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR MARINE INSURANCE PURCHASED BY A CARRIER UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE VALUATION PLACED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON THE PUBLIC PROPERTY BEING TRANSPORTED WARRANTED ITS INSURANCE. THERE WAS DISALLOWED IN THE SETTLEMENT THE SUM OF $2.88 REPRESENTING MARINE INSURANCE OF 25 CENTS PER $100. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LOCAL. "MARINE INSURANCE IS NOT REQUIRED ON * * * UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SHIPMENTS (EXCEPT UPON WRITTEN REQUEST THEREFOR).'.

A-7315, FEBRUARY 13, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 690

INSURANCE ON PUBLIC PROPERTY THE INCURRING OF EXPENSE FOR INSURING PUBLIC PROPERTY BEING TRANSPORTED IS ORDINARILY NOT AUTHORIZED AS IT IS THE POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME ITS OWN RISKS. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT INSURANCE WAS REQUESTED IN WRITING BY THE GOVERNMENT, AS REQUIRED BY I.C.C. TARIFF REGULATION NO. 1959, THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR MARINE INSURANCE PURCHASED BY A CARRIER UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE VALUATION PLACED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON THE PUBLIC PROPERTY BEING TRANSPORTED WARRANTED ITS INSURANCE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 13, 1925:

THE AMERICAN RAILWAY EXPRESS CO. APPLIED BY LETTER OF JANUARY 2, 1925 (FILE NO. G-30-5-S), FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT T-10291-N, NAVY BILL G/8/11513A, FOR TRANSPORTATION OF ONE BOX OF SILVERWARE WEIGHING 87 POUNDS FROM VALLEJO, CALIF., TO HONOLULU, HAWAII, PER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. 317106 OF JULY 21, 1924.

THERE WAS DISALLOWED IN THE SETTLEMENT THE SUM OF $2.88 REPRESENTING MARINE INSURANCE OF 25 CENTS PER $100, UPON $1,200 VALUATION PLACED ON SHIPMENT. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LOCAL, JOINT, AND BASING TARIFF NO. 81, I.C.C. NO. 1959, WITH WHICH THE CLAIMANT COMPANY MUST BE PRESUMED TO BE FAMILIAR AND WHICH PROVIDES, PAGE 3, SECTION 3, ITEM 2,"MARINE INSURANCE IS NOT REQUIRED ON * * * UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SHIPMENTS (EXCEPT UPON WRITTEN REQUEST THEREFOR).'

IN ITS REQUEST FOR REVIEW, CLAIMANT COMPANY STATES:

WE HAVE RECEIVED SHIPPING ORDER WHICH CLEARLY INDICATES WHEN RECEIPT WAS GIVEN VALUATION AS $1,200.00 WAS DECLARED, THIS BEING OUR LIABILITY IN EVENT SHIPMENT WAS LOST, THEREFORE, IT WAS NECESSARY TO PROTECT DECLARED VALUATION AND FOR THIS REASON MARINE INSURANCE WAS PLACED ON SHIPMENT. THERE IS ALSO A NOTATION INDICATED ON THE SHIPPING ORDER TO THE EFFECT THAT $8.31 WAS COLLECTED TO COVER EXCESS COST OF SHIPPING BY EXPRESS AND IT MAY BE THAT AMOUNT IN QUESTION SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM LT. L. D. MCCORMICK, WHO WAS CONSIGNEE.

THE STATEMENT AS TO THE VALUATION ON THE SHIPPING ORDER CAN NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A WRITTEN REQUEST BY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL FOR MARINE INSURANCE ON THE PROPERTY SHIPPED, AND THE STATEMENT ,$8.31 WAS COLLECTED TO COVER EXCESS COST OF SHIPPING BY EXPRESS" DOES NOT OF ITSELF CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE SHIPMENT FROM GOVERNMENT PROPERTY TO PRIVATE PROPERTY. MUST, THEREFORE, BE HELD THAT THERE WAS NO AUTHORIZATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH I.C.C. NO. 1959 TO INSURE THE PROPERTY.

THE QUESTION OF INSURING GOVERNMENT PROPERTY HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF NUMEROUS DECISIONS AND THE ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT GOVERNMENT OFFICERS ORDINARILY ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO INCUR EXPENSES FOR THE INSURANCE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY BOTH UPON THE GROUND THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED WITH THE EXPENSE ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND BECAUSE IT WAS HELD TO BE THE POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME ITS OWN RISKS. 13 COMP. DEC. 779; 21 ID. 308; 23 ID. 297, AND CITATIONS THEREIN; RE A-5011, JANUARY 2, 1925.

HOWEVER, ASSUMING THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR COST OF MARINE INSURANCE MIGHT BE MADE IN A PROPER CASE SUCH REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THE INSURANCE WAS REQUESTED IN WRITING AS REQUIRED BY I.C.C. NO. 1959. THE INSURANCE IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS TAKEN OUT, APPARENTLY, ON THE COMPANY'S OWN INITIATIVE, AND FOR ITS OWN PROTECTION, AND THERE IS NO LAW SHIFTING THE LIABILITY THEREFOR TO THE GOVERNMENT.