B-126135, FEB. 6, 1956

B-126135: Feb 6, 1956

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IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT UNDER ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS (ACT OF AUGUST 7. IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THE CONGRESS IS AWARE OF THE UNIVERSAL PRACTICE OF INSURANCE COMPANIES TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS IN ADVANCE. WHEN THE POLICY OF INSURANCE IS ISSUED. THE INSURER'S RESPONSIBILITIES ARE FIXED AND DETERMINED AND THERE IS VESTED IN THE INSURED A COMPLETE RIGHT WHICH IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON ANYTHING FURTHER TO BE DONE OR SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE INSURER. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT YOUR AGENCY MAY PAY INSURANCE PREMIUMS IN ADVANCE FOR INSURANCE OF OFFICIAL MOTOR VEHICLES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHEN REQUIRED BY THE LAW OF SUCH COUNTRIES.

B-126135, FEB. 6, 1956

TO HONORABLE THEODORE C. STREIBERT, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 18, 1955, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER AN ADVANCE PAYMENT FOR INSURANCE OF OFFICIAL MOTOR VEHICLES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHEN REQUIRED BY THE LAW OF SUCH COUNTRIES WOULD BE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ADVANCE PAYMENT PROHIBITION OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 529.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT UNDER ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS (ACT OF AUGUST 7, 1953, 67 STAT. 420; ACT OF JULY 2, 1954, 68 STAT. 430; AND ACT OF JULY 7, 1955, 69 STAT. 277) THE CONGRESS HAS AUTHORIZED YOUR AGENCY TO OBTAIN "INSURANCE OF OFFICIAL MOTOR VEHICLES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHEN REQUIRED BY THE LAW OF SUCH COUNTRIES," AND THAT THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER AN ADVANCE PAYMENT WOULD BE INVOLVED IN BUYING PREPAID MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE UNDER THAT AUTHORITY, SUCH AS ON AN ANNUAL PREMIUM BASIS.

SECTION 3648 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 529, PROVIDES:

"NO ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY SHALL BE MADE IN ANY CASE UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW. AND IN ALL CASES OF CONTRACTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF ANY SERVICE, OR THE DELIVERY OF ARTICLES OF ANY DESCRIPTION, FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES, PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE VALUE OF THE SERVICE RENDERED, OR OF THE ARTICLES DELIVERED PREVIOUSLY TO SUCH PAYMENT. IT SHALL, HOWEVER, BE LAWFUL, UNDER THE SPECIAL DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT, TO MAKE SUCH ADVANCES TO THE DISBURSING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO THE FAITHFUL AND PROMPT DISCHARGE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE DUTIES, AND TO THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENTS. THE PRESIDENT MAY ALSO DIRECT SUCH ADVANCES AS HE MAY DEEM NECESSARY AND PROPER, TO PERSONS IN THE MILITARY AND NAVAL SERVICE EMPLOYED ON DISTANT STATIONS, WHERE THE DISCHARGE OF THE PAY AND EMOLUMENTS TO WHICH THEY MAY BE ENTITLED CANNOT BE REGULARLY EFFECTED.'

IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THE CONGRESS IS AWARE OF THE UNIVERSAL PRACTICE OF INSURANCE COMPANIES TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS IN ADVANCE, AND, THEREFORE, THE AUTHORITY GRANTED YOUR AGENCY TO OBTAIN "INSURANCE OF OFFICIAL MOTOR VEHICLES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHEN REQUIRED BY THE LAW OF SUCH COUNTRIES" CONSTITUTES AN AUTHORIZATION IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR SUCH PAYMENT. MOREOVER, WHEN THE POLICY OF INSURANCE IS ISSUED, THE INSURER'S RESPONSIBILITIES ARE FIXED AND DETERMINED AND THERE IS VESTED IN THE INSURED A COMPLETE RIGHT WHICH IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON ANYTHING FURTHER TO BE DONE OR SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE INSURER.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT YOUR AGENCY MAY PAY INSURANCE PREMIUMS IN ADVANCE FOR INSURANCE OF OFFICIAL MOTOR VEHICLES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHEN REQUIRED BY THE LAW OF SUCH COUNTRIES.