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Post-Loss Assignments of Claims Under Insurance Policies

In the settlement of lawsuits involving insured claims, it is not uncommon that one condition of the settlement is that the defendant assign his or her claims under all applicable insurance policies to the party that filed suit.

Indeed, it is frequently the case that the defendant, particularly when the defendant is an individual, has a limited ability to pay a judgment and insurance coverage offers the best opportunity for a recovery by the suing party. Usually, such settlements are made without any serious thought being given to whether the defendant’s claim against its insurer is assignable; the assumption being that it is assignable.

However, insurance policies generally have anti-assignment clauses which prohibit the assignment of the policy, or an interest in the policy, without the insurer’s consent. These clauses come into play in determining the validity or enforceability of the assignment of a claim under an insurance policy and should be considered when such an assignment is part of a settlement.

When considering the enforceability of anti-assignment clauses in insurance policies, the courts generally draw a distinction between an assignment made prior to the occurrence of a covered loss (a “pre-loss” assignment) and an assignment made after the occurrence of a covered loss (a “post-loss” assignment).

In analyzing pre-loss assignments, the courts recognize that requiring an insurer to provide coverage to an assignee of its policy prior to the occurrence of a covered loss would place the insurer in the position of covering a party with whom it had not contracted nor been allowed to properly underwrite to assess the risks posed by that potential insured, and, accordingly, determine the appropriate premium to charge for the risks being undertaken or choose to decline coverage.

Post-loss assignments, on the other hand, take place after the insurer’s obligations under its policy have become fixed by the occurrence of a covered loss, thus the risk factors applicable to the assignee are irrelevant with regard to the covered loss in question. For these reasons, the majority of the courts enforce anti-assignment clauses to prohibit or restrict pre-loss assignments, but refuse to enforce anti-assignment clauses to prohibit or restrict post-loss assignments.

Katrina Cases

The Louisiana Supreme Court, which had not previously addressed the enforceability of anti-assignment clauses for post-loss assignments, was recently confronted with this issue in the In re: Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, litigation involving consolidated cases arising out of Hurricane Katrina. The issue arose as a result of a lawsuit brought by the State of Louisiana as the assignee of claims under numerous insurance policies as part of the “Road Home” Program. The Road Home Program was set up following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to distribute federal funds to homeowners suffering damage from the hurricanes. In return for receiving a grant of up to $150,000, homeowners were required to execute a Limited Subrogation/Assignment agreement, which provided in pertinent part:

Pursuant to these Limited Subrogation/Assignments, the State of Louisiana brought suit against more than 200 insurance companies to recover funds dispensed under the Road Home Program. The suit was removed to Federal Court under the Class Action Fairness Act and the insurers filed motions to dismiss, arguing that the assignments to the State of Louisiana were invalid under the anti-assignment clauses in the homeowner policies at issue.

On appeal, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals certified the following question to the Louisiana Supreme Court: “Does an anti-assignment clause in a homeowner’s insurance policy, which by its plain terms purports to bar any assignment of the policy or an interest therein without the insurer’s consent, bar an insured’s post-loss assignment of the insured’s claims under the policy when such an assignment transfers contractual obligations, not just the right to money due?”

In answering this question, the Louisiana Supreme Court began by noting that, as a general matter, contractual rights are assignable unless the law, the contract terms or the nature of the contract preclude assignment. Specific to the certified question, Louisiana Civil Code article 2653 provides that a right “cannot be assigned when the contract from which it arises prohibits the assignment of that right.” The Louisiana Supreme Court observed that the language of article 2653 is broad and, on its face, applies to all assignments, including post-loss assignments of insurance claims. The Court, therefore, construed the issue confronting it as whether Louisiana public policy would enforce an anti-assignment clause to preclude post-loss assignments of claims under insurance policies.

In addressing the public policy question, the Louisiana Supreme Court recognized the distinction between pre-loss assignments and post-loss assignments discussed by courts from other states and noted that the prevailing view was that anti-assignment clauses were invalid and/or unenforceable when applied to post-loss assignments. Notwithstanding this weight of authority, the Louisiana Supreme Court stated:

“[W]hile the Louisiana legislature has clearly indicated an intent to allow parties freedom to assign contractual rights, by enacting La. C.C. art. 2653, it has also clearly indicated an intent to allow parties freedom to contractually prohibit assignment of rights. We recognize the vast amount of national jurisprudence distinguishing between pre-loss and post-loss assignments and rejecting restrictions on post-loss assignments, however we find no public policy in Louisiana favoring assignability of claims over freedom of contract.”

Thus, Court refused to invalidate the enforceability of the anti-assignment clauses to the post-loss assignments before it based on public policy, adding that public policy determinations are better suited to the legislature.

Nonetheless, after having recognized the general enforceability of anti-assignment clauses to post-loss assignments, the Court immediately placed limits on when those clauses would be applicable, stating that to be applicable, they “must clearly and unambiguously express that the non-assignment clause applies to post-loss assignments.” The Court refused “to formulate a test consisting of specific terms or words,” which would satisfy this condition and remanded the case to the federal courts to determine whether the individual anti-assignment clauses in the various policies were sufficiently clear and explicit to be enforced with respect to post-loss assignments at issue.

A Broad Application

It should be noted that the Court’s opinion appears to apply broadly to all post-loss assignments irrespective of what specific rights are being assigned, despite the fact that the certified question was narrower and asked only about the applicability of a post-loss assignment where the assignment “transfers contractual obligations, not just the right to money due.”

In a footnote at the beginning of its opinion, the Louisiana Supreme Court observed that in certifying the question to it, the Fifth Circuit “disclaimed any intent” that the Court “confine its reply to the precise form or scope of the legal questions certified.” The footnote indicates that the Court’s opinion was not intended to be limited to only those post-loss assignments involving the assignment of contractual obligations.

Louisiana has departed from the majority view in holding that as a matter of general law, anti-assignment clauses are not inherently void with regard to post-loss assignments. However, it may be that in practical application, the results of individual cases may well be consistent with the majority rule of not enforcing anti-assignment clauses with regard to post-loss assignments because Louisiana courts may be reluctant to find that the anti-assignment clauses are sufficiently “clear and explicit” unless they specifically state that they apply to post-loss assignments, notwithstanding the Louisiana Supreme Court’s unwillingness to “formulate a test consisting of specific terms or words.”

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Assignment of insurance policies and claims | Practical Law

according to the assignment condition in an insurance policy

Assignment of insurance policies and claims

Practical law uk practice note w-031-6021  (approx. 19 pages).

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What Is a Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance?

according to the assignment condition in an insurance policy

Charlene Rhinehart is a CPA , CFE, chair of an Illinois CPA Society committee, and has a degree in accounting and finance from DePaul University.

according to the assignment condition in an insurance policy

A collateral assignment of life insurance is a conditional assignment appointing a lender as an assignee of a policy. Essentially, the lender has a claim to some or all of the death benefit until the loan is repaid. The death benefit is used as collateral for a loan.

The advantage to using a collateral assignee over naming the lender as a beneficiary is that you can specify that the lender is only entitled to a certain amount, namely the amount of the outstanding loan. That would allow your beneficiaries still be entitled to any remaining death benefit.

Lenders commonly require that life insurance serve as collateral for a business loan to guarantee repayment if the borrower dies or defaults. They may even require you to get a life insurance policy to be approved for a business loan.

Key Takeaways

  • The borrower of a business loan using life insurance as collateral must be the policy owner, who may or may not be the insured.
  • The collateral assignment helps you avoid naming a lender as a beneficiary.
  • The collateral assignment may be against all or part of the policy's value.
  • If any amount of the death benefit remains after the lender is paid, it is distributed to beneficiaries.
  • Once the loan is fully repaid, the life insurance policy is no longer used as collateral.

How a Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance Works

Collateral assignments make sure the lender gets paid only what they are due. The borrower must be the owner of the policy, but they do not have to be the insured person. And the policy must remain current for the life of the loan, with the policy owner continuing to pay all premiums . You can use either term or whole life insurance policy as collateral, but the death benefit must meet the lender's terms.

A permanent life insurance policy with a cash value allows the lender access to the cash value to use as loan payment if the borrower defaults. Many lenders don't accept term life insurance policies as collateral because they do not accumulate cash value.

Alternately, the policy owner's access to the cash value is restricted to protect the collateral. If the loan is repaid before the borrower's death, the assignment is removed, and the lender is no longer the beneficiary of the death benefit.

Insurance companies must be notified of the collateral assignment of a policy. However, other than their obligation to meet the terms of the contract, they are not involved in the agreement.

Example of Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance

For example, say you have a business plan for a floral shop and need a $50,000 loan to get started. When you apply for the loan, the bank says you must have collateral in the form of a life insurance policy to back it up. You have a whole life insurance policy with a cash value of $65,000 and a death benefit of $300,000, which the bank accepts as collateral.

So, you then designate the bank as the policy's assignee until you repay the $50,000 loan. That way, the bank can ensure it will be repaid the funds it lent you, even if you died. In this case, because the cash value and death benefit is more than what you owe the lender, your beneficiaries would still inherit money.

Alternatives to Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance

Using a collateral assignment to secure a business loan can help you access the funds you need to start or grow your business. However, you would be at risk of losing your life insurance policy if you defaulted on the loan, meaning your beneficiaries may not receive the money you'd planned for them to inherit.

Consult with a financial advisor to discuss whether a collateral assignment or one of these alternatives may be most appropriate for your financial situation.

Life insurance loan (policy loan) : If you already have a life insurance policy with a cash value, you can likely borrow against it. Policy loans are not taxed and have less stringent requirements such as no credit or income checks. However, this option would not work if you do not already have a permanent life insurance policy because the cash value component takes time to build.

Surrendering your policy : You can also surrender your policy to access any cash value you've built up. However, your beneficiaries would no longer receive a death benefit.

Other loan types : Finally, you can apply for other loans, such as a personal loan, that do not require life insurance as collateral. You could use loans that rely on other types of collateral, such as a home equity loan that uses your home equity.

What Are the Benefits of Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance?

A collateral assignment of a life insurance policy may be required if you need a business loan. Lenders typically require life insurance as collateral for business loans because they guarantee repayment if the borrower dies. A policy with cash value can guarantee repayment if the borrower defaults.

What Kind of Life Insurance Can Be Used for Collateral?

You can typically use any type of life insurance policy as collateral for a business loan, depending on the lender's requirements. A permanent life insurance policy with a cash value allows the lender a source of funds to use if the borrower defaults. Some lenders may not accept term life insurance policies, which have no cash value. The lender will typically require the death benefit be a certain amount, depending on your loan size.

Is Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance Irrevocable?

A collateral assignment of life insurance is irrevocable. So, the policyholder may not use the cash value of a life insurance policy dedicated toward collateral for a loan until that loan has been repaid.

What is the Difference Between an Assignment and a Collateral Assignment?

With an absolute assignment , the entire ownership of the policy would be transferred to the assignee, or the lender. Then, the lender would be entitled to the full death benefit. With a collateral assignment, the lender is only entitled to the balance of the outstanding loan.

The Bottom Line

If you are applying for life insurance to secure your own business loan, remember you do not need to make the lender the beneficiary. Instead you can use a collateral assignment. Consult a financial advisor or insurance broker who can walk you through the process and explain its pros and cons as they apply to your situation.

Progressive. " Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance ."

Fidelity Life. " What Is a Collateral Assignment of a Life Insurance Policy? "

Kansas Legislative Research Department. " Collateral Assignment of Life Insurance Proceeds ."

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How to Understand an Insurance Policy

Most people would rather go to the dentist than try to read an insurance policy. Like most things that seem intimidating at first, though, when you break it down, it makes a lot more sense. We’ll tell you how to understand an insurance policy.

There are four basic parts of an insurance policy:

  • Declarations
  • Insuring agreement

how-does-insurance-work

  • Check that the name of the insured matches the entity’s legal name, spelled correctly.
  • Check that the policy lists the addresses of all the business premises you want to cover (for a business property policy).
  • For an auto policy, verify information on make, model, and VIN numbers for covered vehicles.
  • For a liability policy, verify the declarations accurately describe the type of coverage you want.
  • Check the policy start (inception) and termination dates. This is your coverage period. If you are replacing an existing policy, will this create any coverage gaps? Some claims-made liability policies provide coverage for accidents that occur before the current policy term, the retroactive period.
  • Check the retroactive date — the date on a renewal claims-made liability policy should match the date on your first policy, otherwise you will have a coverage gap.
  • Policy limits are the most the insurer will pay under the policy. Some policies also have separate, lower sub-limits for specific types of claims. Will these limits provide enough coverage?
  • The declarations page will also list the premiums you pay, along with any deductibles you will have to pay before the insurer begins to pay on a claim. To lower your premiums, can you afford higher deductibles?
  • Some policies include separate schedules, or itemized lists of covered property. They might also include endorsements, which are separate documents that modify terms of coverage under a policy. The declarations should list these — check that they are correct.

Insuring agreement: This section summarizes the insurer’s agreement to pay covered claims.

If you’re wondering which part of your property insurance policy will describe the perils, you’ve found the right place. For a property policy, the insuring agreement will state the property covered and types of perils, or causes of loss, the policy covers.

In a liability policy, the insuring agreement describes the types of activities covered.

For a commercial general liability policy, the insurer agrees to any money the insured is legally obligated to pay for bodily injury or property damage claims covered by the policy. The insurer also agrees to provide the insured’s legal defense for liability claims that might be covered by the policy.

  • Action item: For a property policy, determine whether you have a “named perils” or “all-risk” policy. A named perils policy will list the specific perils that the policy covers. Any peril not named is not covered. The so-called “all-risk” policy offers broader coverage, covering losses caused by any peril, except for those specifically excluded in the policy. If you have a named perils policy, do you have any significant risk exposures that are not covered?

Exclusions : Exclusions limit your coverage by stating the types of activities or losses the policy will not cover.

  • Action item: To avoid significant coverage gaps, list the exclusions included in all your liability policies. Most general liability policies exclude liability for pollution and design error, among other things. If you need coverage for these exposures, you will need to buy separate, specialized insurance. Most businesses have a second layer of liability protection through an umbrella or excess policy. This pays claims that exceed the limits of the primary liability policies. Often an umbrella policy will provide broader coverage (that is, cover more perils) than your primary policies. If not, and you have significant risk exposures excluded in your primary policies, please contact us so we can tailor a coverage solution for you.

Conditions: The conditions describe the obligations of each party to the contract. Conditions can appear in the basic policy, the standard form and (if you have them) in your policy endorsements. Conditions include the policy’s cancellation provision. They also describe how the insurer will proceed if other coverage applies to a loss, and reserve the insurer’s right to subrogate a claim, or seek recovery from another party after it has paid a claim on your behalf. The conditions also outline your obligations to the insurer. They spell out when and how you must notify the insurer of an accident or claim that might be covered by a liability policy, your obligation to protect covered property after a loss, and your obligation to cooperate during the company’s investigation or defense of a liability lawsuit.

  • Action items: Read policy conditions carefully, because failure to fulfill your obligations to the insurer could nullify your coverage! To ensure you have time to find other coverage, look for a cancellation provision that requires the insurer to provide at least 30 days’ notice before cancelling your policy for reasons other than non-payment. For difficult to place coverage, you may want as many as 90 days’ notice.

Our hope is that you understand the different insurance policy sections after reading this blog, but if you need help reviewing a policy or understanding policy provisions, please contact us . We’ll be happy to help!

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What Are Insurance Conditions?

Definition & Examples of Insurance Conditions

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Insurance conditions are requirements that need to be met for the coverage to be valid. They may address issues like how notice of a claim should be given and what the insured party should do in the event of a loss.

Learn more about insurance conditions and how they work.

The conditions section of an insurance policy outlines various obligations that must be fulfilled for the contract to be enforced. Some conditions apply to the insured while others apply to the insurer.

Insurance conditions may include:

  • How to report a loss
  • How long you have to report a loss
  • How property will be valued
  • How and when a policy can be canceled
  • When the insurer can non-renew the policy

How Insurance Conditions Work

Policy conditions are typically listed in one or more sections of a policy. An example is the Insurance Services Office's (ISO's) commercial property policy , which contains three groups of conditions. ISO offers standard policy templates that many insurers use.

The loss conditions explain how losses are valued and paid.   The additional conditions section addresses issues such as coinsurance and the rights of mortgageholders.   The commercial property conditions are contained in a separate form and address matters not explained elsewhere, such as the coverage territory .  

Policies that provide multiple coverages typically contain a separate group of conditions for each type of coverage. For example, an ISO package policy that includes general liability and commercial auto coverages will include separate conditions for liability and auto.

Many policies that provide multiple coverages include a separate form entitled Common Policy Conditions. The common conditions apply to all coverages provided by the policy.

Examples of Insurance Conditions

The conditions outlined below are found in many types of business policies.

Duties in the Event of an Occurrence or Loss

Virtually all policies contain a clause that explains what you must do if a loss or claim occurs. For example, a standard general liability policy has a condition that requires you to notify your insurer as soon as practicable in the event of an occurrence or offense that may result in a claim or suit.   General liability policies provide protection in the event of claims that occur due to your business operations.

Pay close attention to loss conditions. Failure to comply may give your insurer grounds to deny coverage for a claim.

Other Insurance

"Other insurance" conditions explain how your policy will respond to a loss that's also covered by other insurance. Depending on the language used, your policy may provide primary, excess, or no coverage when other insurance is available. Alternatively, your policy may share losses on a proportionate basis with other insurance.  

Transfer of Rights of Recovery

This clause, often called a subrogation clause, gives the insurer the right to recover the amount paid for a claim from the party that caused the loss. In other words, if the insurer has paid a loss for which a third party is responsible, the insurer can sue that party for the amount of the payment.  

Legal Action Against Us

This provision prohibits you from filing a legal action (lawsuit) against your insurer unless you have fulfilled all of the requirements under the policy. Some conditions impose a time limit, such as a year from the date of loss, for filing a suit. If the law in your state provides more time to file lawsuits than the time limit described in the policy, the law will override the policy.  

Liberalization

This condition automatically expands your policy to include any coverage your insurer added to your policy shortly before or during your policy period as long as you didn't pay a premium for the change. Your policy period is the time when your policy is in force.

For example, the liberalization clause in the ISO business owners policy provides that if the insurer has broadened any coverage without an additional premium within 45 days before or during the policy period, the expanded coverage will immediately apply.  

Cancellation and Non-Renewal

These conditions outline the circumstances under which the insurer may cancel or non-renew the policy. These provisions are often overridden by state-required endorsements that modify the policies as required by state law.

Transfer of Your Rights and Duties

This condition prohibits policyholders from assigning their rights and duties under the policy to someone else without the insurer's written consent. Insurers screen insurance applicants carefully before they issue policies, and this clause prevents policyholders from giving their policy to someone else.

No Benefit to Bailee

A bailee is someone who has possession of another person's property but has not assumed ownership of it. In a standard commercial property policy, this condition states that no one (other than the named insured) who has custody of the insured property will benefit from the policy.  

In other words, a bailee is not entitled to a claim payment simply because they have possession of the insured property. If you had inventory in a storage unit and it was damaged, you would receive the insurance benefits, not the storage company.

Concealment, Misrepresentation, or Fraud

Most commercial property policies contain a clause allowing the insurer to void the policy or deny a claim to an insured who has intentionally concealed or misrepresented material facts related to the insurance. The term misrepresentation means a misstatement of the truth. The misstatement is material if the insurer would have made a different decision had it known the true facts.  

For instance, consider a business owner who completes an application for property insurance on a building they own, but lies on the application, stating that the building is used as a warehouse when it's actually used to manufacture fireworks. If the building is damaged in an explosion caused by faulty fireworks, the insurer may deny coverage based on material misrepresentation.

Key Takeaways

  • Insurance conditions are requirements that need to be met for the coverage to be valid. 
  • They may address issues like how notice of a claim should be given and what the insured party should do in the event of a loss.
  • Conditions are typically listed in a specific section of your policy. Review policy conditions carefully, as not following them could give your insurer grounds to deny coverage. 

Property Insurance Coverage Law. " Building and Personal Property Coverage Form ," Page 10. Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

Property Insurance Coverage Law. " Building and Personal Property Coverage Form ," Page 13. Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

Colony Insurance. " Commercial Property Conditions ," Page 1. Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

North Star Mutual. " Commercial General Liability Coverage Form ," Page 11. Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

IRMI. " Other Insurance Clause ." Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

Legal Information Institute. " Subrogation ." Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

United Policyholders. " Lawsuit Limitations in Insurance Policies. " Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

Canopy Claims. " Businessowners Coverage Form ," Page 52. Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

FindLaw. " Misrepresentations and Concealments in the Application for Insurance: An Analysis of the Insurer's Right to Rescind Coverage ." Accessed Aug. 1, 2020.

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Insurance Policy Consent to Assignment Clauses

Many policyholders forget that their insurance policy is a contract and is subject, with exceptions, to the usual laws of contract. An issue that frequently arises is whether the named insured is able to assign insurance proceeds under the policy to another. The answer to that question is dependent on the type of coverage sought.

Most insurance policies have a “consent to assignment clause” that typically provides: “Assignment of interest under this policy shall not bind the Company until its consent is endorsed hereon.” 1 This clause is designed to protect the insurer from having to extend coverage to an entity it never agreed to cover. In California, the enforceability of the clause depends on both the timing of the assignment and whether the claim is a first party loss – where the insured is seeking benefits for a sunk ship or a burned building, or a third party claim, which protects insured in certain instances when the insured might be liable to another.

With respect to first party claims, insurers have a vested interest in their personal relationships with the named insureds, and before a loss , a legally recognized need to prevent non-consensual assignments to less responsible insureds. 2 After a first party loss , however, the insurer’s need to consent dissipates, because any assignment is only of money already due under the contract and any right of the insured as a result of the loss may be assigned with or without the consent of the insurer; thus the consent to assignment clause is deemed unenforceable. 3 With respect to third party claims, the California Supreme Court held in Henkel that the consent to assignment clause is enforceable and, as a result, a company that acquired a policyholder’s assets and liabilities could not receive the benefits of the policyholder’s liability coverage in the absence of an insurer-approved assignment regardless of when the assignment took place. 4

The enforceability of “consent-to-assignment” clauses is dependent on the law of each particular state. Always check with an attorney before making an assignment of policy benefits to another, regardless of the situation.

1    Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934 , 943. 2 Bergson v. Builders Ins. Co. (1869) 38 Cal. 541, 545. 3 Vierneisel v. Rhode Island Ins. Co. (1946) 77 Cal.App.2d 229 , 232 [house destroyed by fire before close of escrow; affirming assignment by sellers to buyers of right to recover proceeds under fire insurance policy]. 4 Henkel , supra , 29 Cal.4th at p. 944.

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What is Assignment and Nomination in Life Insurance?

‘Assignment’ and ‘Nomination’ are two most common terms used in a life insurance policy document. Let us understand the importance of these two terms in-detail.

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By Future Generali. Updated On Oct 06, 2022

What is Assignment and Nomination in Life Insurance?

Your life insurance policy is a contract between you (insured) and the insurance company (insurer). The contract is filled with jargon. To the extent possible, we must understand all the terms mentioned in the policy bond (certificate). ‘Assignment’ and ‘Nomination’ are two most common terms used in the insurance world.

For instance, in the event that you plan to apply for a home loan, your home loan provider will surely use these terms. Hence, it is best to be sure and understand exactly what the terms mean before you make a decision to buy the policy.

What is assignment in life insurance?

A life insurance policy can be assigned when rights of one person are transferred to another. The rights to your insurance policy can be transferred to someone else for various reasons. The process is known as assignment.

An “assignor” (policyholder) is the person who assigns the insurance policy. An “assignee” is the person to whom the policy rights have been transferred, i.e. the person to whom the policy has been assigned.

In the event rights are transferred from an Assignor to an Assignee, the rights of the policyholder are canceled, and the Assignee becomes the owner of the insurance policy.

People often assign their life insurance policies to banks. A bank becomes the policy owner in this case, while the original policyholder continues to be the life assured whose death may be claimed by either the bank or the policy owner.

Types of Assignment

There are two ways to assign an insurance policy. They are as follows:

1. Absolute Assignment

During this process, the rights of the assignor (policyholder) will be completely transferred to the assignee (person to whom the policy rights have been transferred). It is not subject to any conditions.

As an example, Mr. Rajiv Tripathi owns a Rs 1 Crore life insurance policy. Mr. Tripathi wants to gift his wife this policy. Specifically, he wants to make “absolute assignment” of the policy in his wife's name, so that the death benefit (or maturity proceeds) can be paid directly to her. After the absolute assignment has been made, Mrs. Tripathi will own this policy, and she will be able to transfer it to someone else again.

2. Conditional Assignment

As part of this type of assignment, certain conditions must be met before the transfer of rights occurs from the Assignor to the Assignee. The Policy will only be transferred to the Assignee if all conditions are met.

For instance, a term insurance policy of Rs 50 Lakh is owned by Mr. Dinesh Pujari. Mr. Pujari is applying for a home loan of Rs 50 Lakh. For the loan, the banker asked him to assign the term policy in their name. To acquire a home loan, Mr. Pujari can assign the insurance policy to the home loan company. In the event of Mr. Pujari’s death (during the loan tenure), the bank can collect the death benefit and get their money back from the insurance company.

Mr. Pujari can get back his term insurance policy if he repays the entire amount of his home loan. As soon as the loan is repaid, the policy will be transferred to Mr. Pujari.

In the event that the insurer receives a death benefit that exceeds the outstanding loan balance, the bank will be paid from the difference between the death benefit and the loan and the balance will be paid directly to the nominee. In the above example, the remaining amount (if any) will be paid to Mr. Pujari’s beneficiaries (legal heirs/nominee).

Key Points to know Note About Assignment

In regards to the assignment, the following points should be noted:

  • A policy assignment transfers/changes only the ownership, not the risk associated with it. The person assured thus becomes the insured.
  • The assignment may lead to cancellation of the nomination in the policy only when it is done in favour of the insurance company due to a policy loan.
  • Assignment for all insurance plans except for the pension plan and the Married Women's Property Act (MWP), can be done.
  • A policy contract endorsement is required to effect the assignment.

What is nomination in life insurance?

Upon the death of the life assured, the nominee/ beneficiary (generally a close relative) receives the benefits. Policyholders appoint nominees to receive benefits. Under the Insurance Act, 1938, Section 39 governs the nomination process.

Types of Nominees

In a life insurance policy, the policyholder names someone who will receive the benefits in the event of the life assured's death. Here are a few types of nominees:

1. Beneficial Nominees

In accordance with the law, the beneficiary of the claimed benefits will be any immediate family member nominated by the policyholder (like a spouse, children, or parents). Beneficiary nominees are limited to immediate family members of the beneficiary.

2. Minor Nominees

It is common for individuals to name their children as beneficiaries of their life insurance policies. Minor nominees (under the age of 18) are not allowed to handle claim amounts. Hence, the policyholder needs to designate a custodian or appointee. Payments are made to the appointee until the minor reaches the age of 18.

3. Non-family Nominees

Nominees can include distant relatives or even friends as beneficiaries of a life insurance policy.

4. Changing Nominees

It is okay for policyholders to change their nominees as often as they wish, but the latest nominee should take priority over all previous ones.

Key Points to Note About Nomination

In regards to the nomination, the following points should be noted:

  • In order to nominate, the policyholder and life assured must be the same.
  • In the case of a different policyholder and life assured, the claim benefits will be paid to the policyholder.
  • Nominations cannot be changed or modified.
  • The policy can have more than one nominee.
  • As part of successive nominations, if the life assured appoints person “A” as the first person to receive benefits. Now, in the event of the life assured’s death after person “A” dies, the claim benefits will be given to person “B”. The benefits will be available to Nominee “C” if Nominee “A” and Nominee “B” have passed away.

What is the difference between nomination and assignment?

Let's talk about the differences between assignment and nomination.

Nomination and Assignment serve different purposes. The nomination protects the interests of the insured as well as an insurer in offering claim benefits under the life insurance policy. On the other hand, assignment protects the interests of an assignee in availing the monetary benefits under the policy. The policyholder should be aware of both of them before buying life insurance.

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Nomination and Assignment under Insurance Contracts

Published by siri k reddy on 30/01/2021 30/01/2021, introduction:.

The term assignment itself means you assign something to someone else. In term life insurance, the assignment of the policy describes the action of assigning legal rights as well as policy ownership to someone else. The person who assigns the policy is known as an Assignor and the person who has been assigned the policy is known as an Assignee.

Nomination under the insurance contract refers to nominate someone on your behalf in order to collect the benefit in your absence. A person who is trustworthy can be nominated upon the death of a person. The trustworthy person could be from the dead person’s family or close friends. Then that person is the nominee of the policy.

However in most of the cases, people choose their family member as the nominee of the policy but as per the insurance act of 1938, under section 39, the nomination of a particular person is not restricted to a family only. Any person who is considered as trustworthy and any person who will not misuse the policy are considered to be an ideal nominee of that particular policy.

Types of Assignment

There are two types of assignment of policies:

  • Absolute assignment: under this particular type of assignment, the assignor is bound to transfer the ownership, title, legal interests and all the rights of the policy to the assignee. This type of transfer of the policy does not include the terms and conditions on the part of the assignee. The exact purpose of the absolute assignment is to repay the debts or to show affection to loved ones.
  • Collateral assignment: collateral assignment refers to that particular assignment in which the policyholder assigns the policy on terms and conditions, and the assignee is restricted to avail the benefits of all the terms and conditions. The main purpose of the collateral assignment is to repay loans and liabilities.

Types of Nomination

There are three types of nominations, such as:

  • Beneficiary nominee: in this particular nomination a particular person can be made beneficiary to the immediate family members like parents, children, and spouse. The beneficiary will be entitled to receive all the benefits of the policy legally only in case of unfavourable conditions.
  • Minor nominee: since it is considered that a minor cannot deal with financial conditions, the guardian of that particular minor has to give the details of their selves only when the policyholder chooses his/her child as the nominee.
  • Non-family nominee: a non-family member is that person who does not have blood relation with the policyholder such as close friends, a distant relative, a neighbour, etc. under section 39 of the insurance act of 1938; any trustworthy person can be a policy nominee.

Nomination and Assignment in Life Insurance Plans

As it is already known that insurance is a legal contract between the insurance company who is also called the insurer and the policyholder. An assignee is a person to whom the rights have been transverse to. An example of an absolute assignment is as follows: Mr Bharath owns a life insurance policy of 1 crore and he wants to gift this particular policy to his wife as ‘absolute assignment’ to her name. Once this absolute assignment is made to his wife’s name, she will be the owner of the policy. She also has the right to transfer this policy to someone else.

An example of a conditional assignment is as follows: Ms Supriya owns a term insurance policy of 900,000. She wants a home loan of the same amount. Hence her banker asked her to assign the term policy in their name in order to get the loan.  If Supriya meets an untimely death the banker is entitled to enjoy their money. An assignment deed or deed of assignment [DOA] is that deed through which rights can be transferred from one person to another.

according to the assignment condition in an insurance policy

Sections and Policies

SECTION 38- ASSIGNMENT AND TRANSFER OF INSURANCE POLICIES

The provisions under section 38 of the Insurance Law Act, 2015. The provisions of this particular section are as follows:

  • This policy allows itself to be transferred with or without consideration.
  • An assignment has a high chance of being affected by an endorsement upon the policy or by a separate instrument to the insurer.
  • The instruments should reflect the assignment and the reasons for the transfer.
  • An authorized agent or the transferor should sign the assignment.
  • The transferor of the assignment should not be operative against an insurer until prior notice is issued
  • The authority has the right to specify the fees that is paid for the transfer
  • The insurer is also expected to give a written acknowledgement of receipt of the notice. Such notice acts as evidence for the future.
  •  The notices shall be delivered only at one place where the policy is being served in order to avoid confusions. This arrangement is made as the insurer is involved in managing more than one business place.
  • The insurer has the right to accept or deny acting upon any transfer or endorsement only if it is not bonafide or not in the public interest.
  • Before denying the endorsement, the insurer should make a note of the reasons for the same.

SECTION 39- NOMINATION BY POLICYHOLDER

The provisions of this particular section are as follows:

  • The policyholder can nominate a person to whom money secured by the policy shall be paid during the death.
  • When in case of a minor, the policyholder can appoint any person to receive the money in the event of policyholder’s death during the minority of the nominee.
  • Nomination can be made at any time before the maturity of the policy.
  • The nomination can be incorporated or endorsed to the insurer.
  • The provisions of section 39 are not applicable to any life insurance policy to which section 6 of the Married Women’s Property Act, 1874 applies.
  • If the nominee dies before the policyholder, the money is payable to the legal representatives or the holder of succession certificate.

SECTION 45- Policy shall not be called in question on the ground of misstatement after three years

Provisions of this section are as follow:

  • Any policy of life insurance shall not be called in question after the expiry of three years from the date of issuance of the policy, the date of commencement of risk, the date of revival, the date rider coming to the policy.
  • Silence is not considered to be fraud unless it depends on the circumstances of the case.
  • The insurer can call for age proof at any time only if he is entitled.
  • No insurer can reject a life insurance policy on the grounds of fraud if the beneficiary can prove that the fraud was true to the best of his knowledge.

Difference between Nomination and Assignment

Assignment of policies- impact on existing nomination.

  • According to section 39(4) of the insurance act, 938, the assignment of an insurance policy automatically cancels the nomination.
  • Here are the few circumstances under which the assignment does not automatically cancel nomination :

When the policy loan is taken from the life insurer who issues the policy, the policy has to be assigned in favour of the life insurer. Under such circumstances, assignments in favour of the life insurer do not automatically cancel the nomination.

On the other hand, where the policy is assigned by a debtor to creditor acts as collateral security for the loan taken by the policyholder from the assignee.

The nomination and assignments have their own uses and benefits as a separate topic under the insurance contracts. I have gained in-depth knowledge of what exactly is nomination and assignment along with minute differences between them. The differences between them have helped me gain much more understanding of the topic. Nomination protects the interests of the insured and the insurer. Whereas the assignment strives to protect the interests of the assignee in availing all the benefits.

References:

  • INSURANCE LAWS IN INDIA- VARDHAMAN MAHAVEER, pg. 32. 54.
  • RAJIV JAIN: INSURANCE LAW AND PRACTICE, pg. 44
  • https://m.economictimes.com/nomination-and-assignment/articleshow/3320189.cms
  • https://accountlearning.com/difference-nomination-assignment/
  • https://accountlearning.com/assignment-in-insurance-policy-meaning-explanation-types/
  • https://life.futuregenerali.in/life-insurance-made-simple/life-insurance/change-nominee-in-term-insurance

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Conditional Assignment of a Life Insurance Policy

Conditional Assignment means that the Transfer of Rights will happen from the Assignor to the Assignee subject to certain terms and conditions. If the conditions are fulfilled then only the Policy will get transferred from the Assignor to the Assignee.

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The process of transferring rights of a Life Insurance Policy is called Assignment. There are 2 types of Assignment:

  • Absolute Assignment
  • Conditional Assignment

Conditional Assignment means that the Transfer of Rights will happen from the Assignor to the Assignee subject to certain terms and conditions. If the conditions are fulfilled then only the Policy will get transferred from the Assignor to the Assignee. Or the policy will get transferred from the Assignor to the Assignee till certain conditions are fulfilled. Once the conditions are fulfilled, the policy automatically gets transferred back to the original owner, i.e. the Assignor.

Let’s take an example:

Rahul owns a Life Insurance Policy of Rs 5 lakhs. He needs to take a loan for his daughter’s school admission. He thought of doing so by taking a loan from the insurer itself or any bank against his Life Insurance Policy of Rs 5 lakhs that he owned.

However, to take a loan from the insurer itself or any bank, he needed to transfer the rights of the Insurance Policy to that entity. Thus he would have had to perform Conditional Assignment of the policy to that Bank. Then the bank would be able to pay out the loan money to him by taking the Insurance Policy as collateral. Thus, if Rahul failed to repay the loan, then the bank would surrender the policy and recover their money.

Once Rahul’s loan is completely repaid, then the policy would automatically come back to Rahul. In case, Rahul died before completely repaying the loan, then also the bank can surrender the policy to get their money back. This type of Assignment is called Conditional Assignment.

according to the assignment condition in an insurance policy

Example in real life of Conditional Assignment happens in case of an Insurance Policy being taken by the employer as a perquisite for the employee and it would be given only if he stays with the company for at least 5 years. Then the policy would be purchased by the employer on the employee’s name, but it would get transferred to him only when he completes 5 years. Once the employee completes 5 years of service, the policy gets transferred to him. This type of assignment or transfer of rights of a Life Insurance Policy is called Conditional Assignment.

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Sachin Telawane is a Content Manager and writes on various aspects of the Insurance industry. His enlightening insights on the insurance industry has guided the readers to make informed decisions in the course of purchasing insurance plans.

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Academike

Assignment under Insurance Policies

By J Mandakini, NUALS

Editor’s Note: This paper attempts to explore the concept of assignment under Indian law especially Contract Act, Insurance Act and Transfer of Property Act. It seeks to appreciate why the assignment is made use of for securities of a facility sanctioned by ICICI Bank. Also, it explains how ICICI Bank faces certain problems in executing the same. 

INTRODUCTION

For any facility sanctioned by a lender, collateral is always deposited to secure the same. Such mere deposition will not suffice, the borrower has to explicitly permit the lender to recover from the borrower, such securities in case of his default.

This is done by the concept of assignment, dealt with adequately in Indian law. Assignment of obligations is always a tricky matter and needs to be dealt with carefully. The Bank should not fall short of any legally permitted lengths to ensure the same. This is why ambiguity in its security documents have to be rectified. 

This paper attempts to explore the concept of assignment in contract law. It seeks to appreciate why the assignment is made use of for securities of a facility sanctioned by ICICI Bank. The next section will deal with how ICICI Bank faces certain problems in executing the same. The following sections will talk about possible risks involved, as well as defenses and solutions to the same.

WHAT IS ASSIGNMENT?

Assignment refers to the transfer of certain or all (depending on the agreement) rights to another party. The party which transfers its rights is called an assignor, and the party to whom such rights are transferred is called an assignee. Assignment only takes place after the original contract has been made. As a general rule, assignment of rights and benefits under a contract may be done freely, but the assignment of liabilities and obligations may not be done without the consent of the original contracting party.

The liability on a contract cannot be transferred so as to discharge the person or estate of the original contractor unless the creditor agrees to accept the liability of another person instead of the first. [i]

Illustration

P agrees to sell his car to Q for Rs. 100. P assigns the right to receive the Rs. 100 to S. This may be done without the consent of Q. This is because Q is receiving his car, and it does not particularly matter to him, to whom the Rs. 100 is being handed as long as he is being absolved of his liability under the contract. However, notice may still be required to be given. Without such notice, Q would pay P, in spite of the fact that such right has been assigned to S. S would be a sufferer in such case.

In this case, that condition is being fulfilled since P has assigned his right to S. However, P may not assign S to be the seller. P cannot just transfer his duties under the contract to another. This is because Q has no guarantee as to the condition of S’s car. P entered into the contract with Q on the basis of the merits of P’s car, or any other personal qualifications of P. Such assignment may be done with the consent of all three parties – P, Q, S, and by doing this, P is absolved of his liabilities under the contract.

 1.1. Effect of Assignment

Immediately on the execution of an assignment of an insurance policy, the assignor forgoes all his rights, title and interest in the policy to the assignee. The premium or loan interest notices etc. in such cases will be sent to the assignee. [ii] However, the existence of obligations must not be assumed, when it comes to the assignment. It must be accompanied by evidence of the same. The party asserting such a personal obligation must prove the existence of an express assumption by clear and unequivocal proof. [iii]

according to the assignment condition in an insurance policy

 Assignment of a contract to a third party destroys the privity of contract between the initial contracting parties. New privity is created between the assignee and the original contracting party. In the illustration mentioned above, the original contracting parties were P and Q. After the assignment, the new contracting parties are Q and S.

 1.2. Revocation of Assignment

Assignment, once validly executed, can neither be revoked nor canceled at the option of the assignor. To do so, the insurance policy will have to be reassigned to the original assignor (the insured).

 1.3. Exceptions to Assignment

There are some instances where the contract cannot be assigned to another.

  • Express provisions in the contract as to its non-assignability – Some contracts may include a specific clause prohibiting assignment. If that is so, then such a contract cannot be assigned. Assignability is the rule and the contrary is an exception. [iv]

Pensions, PFs, military benefits etc. Illustration

 1.4. enforcing a contract of assignment.

From the day on which notice is given to the insurer, the assignee becomes the beneficiary of the policy even though the assignment is not registered immediately. It does not wait until the giving of notice of the transfer to the insurer. [vi] However, no claims may lie against the insurer until and unless notice of such assignment is delivered to the insurer.

If notice of assignment is not provided to the obligor, he is discharged if he pays to the assignor. Assignee would have to recover from the assignor. However, if the obligor pays the assignor in spite of the notice provided to him, he would still be liable to the assignee.

The following two illustrations make the point amply clear:

Illustrations

1. Seller A assigns its right to payment from buyer X to bank B. Neither A nor B gives notice to X. When payment is due, X pays A. This payment is fully valid and X is discharged. It will be up to B to recover it from A

2. Seller A assigns to bank B its right to payment from buyer X. B immediately gives notice of the assignment to X. When payment is due, X still pays A. X is not discharged and B is entitled to oblige X to pay a second time.

An assignee doesn’t stand in better shoes than those of his assignor. Thus, if there is any breach of contract by the obligor to the assignee, the latter can recover from the former only the same amount as restricted by counter claims, set offs or liens of the assignor to the obligor.

The acknowledgment of notice of assignment is conclusive proof of, and evidence enough to entertain a suit against an assignor and the insurer respectively who haven’t honoured the contract of assignment.

1.5. Assignment under various laws in India

There is no separate law in India which deals with the concept of assignment. Instead, several laws have codified it under different laws. Some of them have been discussed as follows:

1.5.1. Under the Indian Contract Act

There is no express provision for the assignment of contracts under the Indian Contract Act. Section 37 of the Act provides for the duty of parties of a contract to honour such contract (unless the need for the same has been done away with). This is how the Act attempts to introduce the concept of assignment into Indian commercial law. It lays down a general responsibility on the “representatives” of any parties to a contract that may have expired before the completion of the contract. (Illustrations to Section 37 in the Act).

An exception to this may be found from the contract, e.g. contracts of a personal nature. Representatives of a deceased party to a contract cannot claim privity to that contract while refusing to honour such contract. Under this Section, “representatives” would also include within its ambit, transferees and assignees. [vii]

Section 41 of the Indian Contract Act applies to cases where a contract is performed by a third party and not the original parties to the contract. It applies to cases of assignment. [viii] A promisee accepting performance of the promise from a third person cannot afterwards enforce it against the promisor. [ix] He cannot attain double satisfaction of its claim, i.e., from the promisor as well as the third party which performed the contract. An essential condition for the invocation of this Section is that there must be actual performance of the contract and not of a substituted promise.

  1.5.2. Under the Insurance Act

The creation of assignment of life insurance policies is provided for, under Section 38 of the Insurance Act, 1938.

  • When the insurer receives the endorsement or notice, the fact of assignment shall be recorded with all details (date of receipt of notice – also used to prioritise simultaneous claims, the name of assignee etc). Upon request, and for a fee of an amount not exceeding Re. 1, the insurer shall grant a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such assignment, thereby conclusively proving the fact of his receipt of the notice or endorsement. Now, the insurer shall recognize only the assignee as the legally valid party entitled to the insurance policy.

 1.5.3. Under the Transfer of Property Act

Indian law as to assignment of life policies before the Insurance Act, 1938 was governed by Sections 130, 131, 132 and 135 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 under Chapter VIII of the Act – Of Transfers of Actionable Claims. Section 130 of the Transfer of Property Act states that nothing contained in that Section is to affect Section 38 of the Insurance Act.

 I) Section 130 of the Transfer of Property Act

An actionable claim may be transferred only by fulfilling the following steps:

  • Signed by a transferor (or his authorized agent)

The transfer will be complete and effectual as soon as such an instrument is executed. No particular form or language has been prescribed for the transfer. It does not depend on giving notice to the debtor.

The proviso in the section protects a debtor (or other person), who, without knowledge of the transfer pays his creditor instead of the assignee. As long as such payment was without knowledge of the transfer, such payment will be a valid discharge against the transferee. When the transfer of any actionable claim is validly complete, all rights and remedies of transferor would vest now in the transferee. Existence of an instrument in writing is a sine qua non of a valid transfer of an actionable claim. [x]

 II) Section 131 of the Transfer Of Property Act

This Section requires the notice of transfer of actionable claim, as sent to the debtor, to be signed by the transferor (or by his authorized agent), and if he refuses to sign it, a signature by the transferee (or by his authorized agent). Such notice must state both the name and address of the transferee. This Section is intended to protect the transferee, to receive from the debtor. The transfer does not bind a debtor unless the transferor (or transferee, if transferor refuses) sends him an express notice, in accordance with the provisions of this Section.

III) Section 132 of the Transfer Of Property Act

This Section addresses the issue as to who should undertake the obligations under the transfer, i.e., who will discharge the liabilities of the transferor when the transfer has been made complete – would it be the transferor himself or the transferee, to whom the rest of the surviving contract, so to speak, has been transferred.

This Section stipulates, that the transferee himself would fulfill such obligations. However, where an actionable claim is transferred with the stipulation in the contract that transferor himself should discharge the liability, then such a provision in the contract will supersede Ss 130 and 132 of this Act. Where the insured hypothecates his life insurance policies and stipulates that he himself would pay the premiums, the transferee is not bound to pay the premiums. [xi]

FACILITIES SECURED BY INSURANCE POLICIES – HOW ASSIGNMENT COMES INTO THE PICTURE

Many banks require the borrower to take out or deposit an insurance policy as security when they request a personal loan or a business loan from that institution. The policy is used as a way of securing the loan, ensuring that the bank will have the facility repaid in the event of either the borrower’s death or his deviations from the terms of the facility agreement.

Along with the deposit of the insurance policy, the policyholder will also have to assign the benefits of the policy to the financial institution from which he proposes to avail a facility. The mere deposit, without writing, or passing of any document of title to such a claim, does not create any equitable charge. [xii]

ETHICS OF ASSIGNING LIFE INSURANCE POLICY TO LENDERS

The purpose of taking out a life insurance policy on oneself, is that in the event of an untimely death, near and dear ones of the deceased are not left high and dry, and that they would have something to fall back on during such traumatic times. Depositing and assigning the rights under such policy document to another, would mean that there is a high chance that benefits of life insurance would vest in such other, in the event of unfortunate death and the family members are prioritized only second. These are not desirable circumstances where the family would be forced to cope with the death of their loved one coupled with the financial crisis.

 Thus, there is a need to examine the ethics of:

  • The bank accepting such assignment

The customer should be cautious before assigning his rights under life insurance policies. By “cautious”, it is only meant that he and his dependents and/or legal heirs should be aware of the repercussions of the act of assigning his life insurance policy. It is conceded that no law prohibits the assignment of life insurance policies.

In fact, Section 38 of the Insurance Act, 1938 , provides for such assignments. Judicial cases have held life insurance policies as property more than a social welfare measure. [xiii] Further, the bank has no personal relationship with any customer and thus has no moral obligation to not accept such assignments of life insurance.

However, the writer is of the opinion that, in dealing with the assignment of life insurance policies, utmost care and caution must be taken by the insured when assigning his life insurance policy to anyone else.

CURRENT STAND OF ICICI REGARDING FACILITIES SECURED BY INSURANCE POLICY, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO ASSIGNMENT OF OBLIGATIONS

This Section seeks to address and highlight the manner in which ICICI Bank drafts its security documents with regard to the assignment of obligations. The texts placed in quotes in the subsequent paragraphs are verbatim extracts from the security document as mentioned.

Composite Document for Corporate and Realty Funding

 “ 8 .   CHARGING CLAUSE

  The Mortgagor doth hereby:

iii) Assign and transfer unto the Mortgagee all the Bank Accounts and all rights, title, interest, benefits, claims and demands whatsoever of the Mortgagor in, to, under and in respect of the Bank Accounts and all monies including all cash flows and receivables and all proceeds arising from Projects and Other Projects_______________, insurance proceeds, which have been deposited / credited / lying in the Bank Accounts, all records, investments, assets, instruments and securities which represent all amounts in the Bank Accounts, both present and future (the “Account Assets”, which expression shall, as the context may permit or require, mean any or each of such Account Assets) to have and hold the same unto and to the use of the Mortgagee absolutely and subject to the powers and provisions herein contained and subject also to the proviso for redemption hereinafter mentioned;

(v) Assign and transfer unto the Mortgagee all right, title, interest, benefit, claims and demands whatsoever of the Mortgagors, in, to, under and/or in respect of the Project Documents (including insurance policies) including, without limitation, the right to compel performance thereunder, and to substitute, or to be substituted for, the Mortgagor thereunder, and to commence and conduct either in the name of the Mortgagor or in their own names or otherwise any proceedings against any persons in respect of any breach of, the Project Documents and, including without limitation, rights and benefits to all amounts owing to, or received by, the Mortgagor and all claims thereunder and all other claims of the Mortgagor under or in any proceedings against all or any such persons and together with the right to further assign any of the Project Documents, both present and future, to have and to hold all and singular the aforesaid assets, rights, properties, etc. unto and to the use of the Mortgagee absolutely and subject to the powers and provisions contained herein and subject also to the proviso for redemption hereinafter mentioned.”

 ICICI Bank’s Standard Terms and Conditions Governing Consumer Durable Loans

  “ insurance.

The Borrower further agrees that upon any monies becoming due under the policy, the same shall be paid by the Insurance Company to ICICI Bank without any reference / notice to the Borrower, but not exceeding the principal amount outstanding under the Insurance Policy. The Borrower specifically acknowledges that in all cases of claim, the Insurance Company will be solely liable for settlement of the claim, and he/she will not hold ICICI Bank responsible in any manner whether for compensation, recovery of compensation, processing of claims or for any reason whatsoever.

Reference has been made only to assignment of assets, rights, benefits, interests, properties etc. No specific reference has been made to the assignment of obligations of the assignor under such insurance contract.

THE ISSUE FACED BY ICICI BANK

Where ICICI Bank accepts insurance policy documents of customers as security for a loan, in the light of the fact that the documents are silent about the question of assignment of obligations, are they assigned to ICICI Bank? Where there is hypothecation of a life insurance policy, with a stipulation that the mortgagor (assignor) should pay the premiums, and that the mortgagee (assignee) is not bound to pay the same, Sections 130 and 132 do not apply to such cases. [xiv] With rectification of this issue, ICICI Bank can concretize its hold over the securities with no reservations about its legality.

RISKS INVOLVED

This section of the paper attempts to explore the many risks that ICICI Bank is exposed to, or other factors which worsen the situation, due to the omission of a clause detailing the assignment of obligations by ICICI Bank.

Practices of Other Companies

The practices of other companies could be a risk factor for ICICI Bank in the light of the fact that some of them expressly exclude assignment of obligations in their security documents.

There are some companies whose notice of assignment forms contain an exclusive clause dealing with the assignment of obligations. It states that while rights and benefits accruing out of the insurance policy are to be assigned to the bank, obligations which arise out of such policy documents will not be liable to be performed by the bank. Thus, they explicitly provide for the only assignment of rights and benefits and never the assignment of obligations.

Possible Obligation to Insurance Companies

By not clearing up this issue, ICICI Bank could be held to be obligated to the insurance company from whom the assignor took the policy, for example, with respect to insurance premiums which were required to be paid by the assignor. This is not a desirable scenario for ICICI Bank. In case of default by the assignor in the terms of the contract, the right of ICICI Bank over the security deposited (insurance policy in question) could be fraught in the legal dispute.

Possible litigation

Numerous suits may be instituted against ICICI Bank alleging a violation of the Indian Contract Act. Some examples include allegations of concealment of fact, fraud etc. These could be enough to render the existing contract of assignment voidable or even void.

Contra Proferentem

This doctrine applies in a situation when a provision in the contract can be interpreted in more than one way, thereby creating ambiguities. It attempts to provide a solution to interpreting vague terms by laying down, that a party which drafts and imposes an ambiguous term should not benefit from that ambiguity. Where there is any doubt or ambiguity in the words of an exclusion clause, the words are construed more forcibly against the party putting forth the document, and in favour of the other party. [xv]

The doctrine of contra proferentem attempts to protect the layman from the legally knowledgeable companies which draft standard forms of contracts, in which the former stands on a much weaker footing with regard to bargaining power with the latter. This doctrine has been used in interpreting insurance contracts in India. [xvi]

If litigation ensues as a result of this uncertainty, there are high chances that the Courts will tend to favour the assignor and not the drafter of the documents.

POSSIBLE DEFENSES AGAINST DISPUTES FOR THE SECURITY DOCUMENTS AS THEY ARE NOW

This section of the paper attempts to give defences which the Bank may raise in case of any disputes arising out of silence on the matter of assignability of obligations.

Interpretation of the Security Documents

UNIDROIT principles expressly provide a method for interpretation of contracts. [xvii] The method consists of utilizing the following factors:

This defence relates to the concept of estoppel embodied in Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. According to the Section, when one person has, by his declaration, act or omission, intentionally caused or permitted another person to believe a thing to be true and to act upon such belief, neither he nor his representative shall be allowed, in any suit or proceeding between himself and such person or his representatives, to deny the truth of that thing.

If a man either by words or by conduct has intimated that he consents to an act which has been done and that he will not offer any opposition to it, and he thereby induces others to do that which they otherwise might have abstained from, he cannot question legality of the act he had sanctioned to the prejudice of those who have so given faith to his words or to the fair inference to be drawn from his conduct. [xviii] Subsequent conduct may be relevant to show that the contract exists, or to show variation in the terms of the contract, or waiver, or estoppel. [xix]

Where the meaning of the instrument is ambiguous, a statement subsequently interpreting such instrument is admissible. [xx] In the present case, where the borrower has never raised any claims with regard to non assignability of obligations on him, and has consented to the present conditions and relations with ICICI Bank, he cannot he cannot be allowed to raise any claims with respect to the same.

Internationally, the doctrine of post contractual conduct is invoked for such disputes. It refers to the acts of parties to a contract after the commencement of the contract. It stipulates that where a party has behaved in a particular manner, so as to induce the other party to discharge its obligations, even if there has been a variation from the terms of the contract, the first party cannot cite such variation as a reason for its breach of the contract.

Where the parties to a contract are both under a common mistake as to the meaning or effect of it, and therefore embark on a course of dealing on the footing of that mistake, thereby replacing the original terms of the contract by a conventional basis on which they both conduct their affairs, then the original contract is replaced by the conventional basis. The parties are bound by the conventional basis. Either party can sue or be sued upon it just as if it had been expressly agreed between them. [xxi]

The importance of consensus ad idem has been concretized by various case laws in India. Further, if the stipulations and terms are uncertain and the parties are not ad idem there can be no specific performance, for there was no contract at all. [xxii]

In the present case, the minds of the assignor and assignee can be said to have not met while entering into the assignment. The assignee never had any intention of undertaking any obligations of the assignor. In Hartog v Colin & Shields, [xxiii] the defendants made an offer to the plaintiffs to sell hare skins, offering to a pay a price per pound instead of per piece.

AVOIDING THESE RISKS

To concretize ICICI Bank’s stand on the assignment of obligations in the matter of loans secured by insurance policies, the relevant security documents could be amended to include such a clause.

For instances where loans are secured by life insurance policies, a standard set by the American Banker’s Association (ABA) has been followed by many Indian commercial institutions as well. [xxvi] The ABA is a trade association in the USA representing banks ranging from the smallest community bank to the largest bank holding companies. ABA’s principal activities include lobbying, professional development for member institutions, maintenance of best practices and industry standards, consumer education, and distribution of products and services. [xxvii]

There are several ICICI security documents which have included clauses denying any assignment of obligations to it. An extract of the deed of hypothecation for vehicle loan has been reproduced below:

“ 3. In further pursuance of the Loan Terms and for the consideration aforesaid, the Hypothecator hereby further agrees, confirms, declares and undertakes with the Bank as follows:

(i)(a) The Hypothecator shall at its expenses keep the Assets in good and marketable condition and, if stipulated by the Bank under the Loan Terms, insure such of the Assets which are of insurable nature, in the joint names of the Hypothecator and the Bank against any loss or damage by theft, fire, lightning, earthquake, explosion, riot, strike, civil commotion, storm, tempest, flood, erection risk, war risk and such other risks as may be determined by the Bank and including wherever applicable, all marine, transit and other hazards incidental to the acquisition, transportation and delivery of the relevant Assets to the place of use or installation. The Hypothecator shall deliver to the Bank the relevant policies of insurance and maintain such insurance throughout the continuance of the security of these presents and deliver to the Bank the renewal receipts / endorsements / renewed policies therefore and till such insurance policies / renewal policies / endorsements are delivered to the Bank, the same shall be held by the Hypothecator in trust for the Bank. The Hypothecator shall duly and punctually pay all premia and shall not do or suffer to be done or omit to do or be done any act, which may invalidate or avoid such insurance. In default, the Bank may (but shall not be bound to) keep in good condition and render marketable the relevant Assets and take out / renew such insurance. Any premium paid by the Bank and any costs, charges and expenses incurred by the Bank shall forthwith on receipt of a notice of demand from the Bank be reimbursed by the Hypothecator and/or Borrower to the Bank together with interest thereon at the rate for further interest as specified under the Loan Terms, from the date of payment till reimbursement thereof and until such reimbursement, the same shall be a charge on the Assets…”

The inclusion of such a clause in all security documents of the Bank can avoid the problem of assignability of obligations in insurance policies used as security for any facility sanctioned by it.

An assignment of securities is of utmost importance to any lender to secure the facility, without which the lender will not be entitled to any interest in the securities so deposited.

In this paper, one has seen the need for assignment of securities of a facility. Risks involved in not having a separate clause dealing with non assignability of obligations have been discussed. Certain defences which ICICI Bank may raise in case of the dispute have also been enumerated along with solutions to the same.

Formatted by March 2nd, 2019.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[i] J.H. Tod v. Lakhmidas , 16 Bom 441, 449

[ii] http://www.licindia.in/policy_conditions.htm#12, last visited 30 th June, 2014

[iii] Headwaters Construction Co. Ltd. v National City Mortgage Co. Ltd., 720 F. Supp. 2d 1182 (D. Idaho 2010)

[iv] Indian Contract Act and Specific Relief Act, Mulla, Vol. I, 13 th Edn., Reprint 2010, p 968

[v] Khardah Co. Ltd. v. Raymond & Co ., AIR 1962 SC 1810: (1963) 3 SCR 183

[vi] Principles of Insurance Law, M.N. Srinivasan, 8 th Edn., 2006, p. 857

[vii] Ram Baran v Ram Mohit , AIR 1967 SC 744: (1967) 1 SCR 293

[viii] Sri Sarada Mills Ltd. v Union of India, AIR 1973 SC 281

[ix] Lala Kapurchand Godha v Mir Nawah Himayatali Khan, [1963] 2 SCR 168

[x] Velayudhan v Pillaiyar, 9 Mad LT 102 (Mad)

[xi] Hindustan Ideal Insurance Co. Ltd. v Satteya, AIR 1961 AP 183

[xii] Mulraj Khatau v Vishwanath, 40 IA 24 – Respondent based his claim on a mere deposit of the policy and not under a written transfer and claimed that a charge had thus been created on the policy.

[xiii] Insure Policy Plus Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. v The Life Insurance Corporation of India, 2007(109)BOMLR559

[xiv] Transfer of Property Act, Sanjiva Row, 7 th Edn., 2011, Vol II, Universal Law Publishing Company, New Delhi

[xv] Ghaziabad Development Authority v Union of India, AIR 2000 SC 2003

[xvi] United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v M/s. Pushpalaya Printers, [2004] 3 SCR 631, General Assurance Society Ltd. v Chandumull Jain & Anr., [1966 (3) SCR 500]

[xvii] UNIDROIT Principles, Art 4.3

[xviii] B.L.Sreedhar & Ors. v K.M. Munireddy & Ors., 2002 (9) SCALE 183

[xix] James Miller & Partners Ltd. v Whitworth Street Estates (Manchester) Ltd., [1970] 1 All ER 796 (HL)

[xx] Godhra Electricity Co. Ltd. v State of Gujarat, AIR 1975 SC 32

[xxi] Amalgamated Investment & Property Co. Ltd. v Texas Commerce International Bank Ltd., [1981] 1 All ER 923

[xxii] Smt. Mayawanti v Smt. Kaushalya Devi, 1990 SCR (2) 350

[xxiii] [1939] 3 All ER 566

[xxiv] Terrell v Alexandria Auto Co., 12 La.App. 625

[xxv] http://www.uncitral.org/pdf/english/CISG25/Pamboukis.pdf, last visited on 30 th June, 2014

[xxvi] https://www.phoenixwm.phl.com/shared/eforms/getdoc.jsp?DocId=525.pdf, last visited on 30 th June, 2014

[xxvii] http://www.aba.com/About/Pages/default.aspx, last visited on 30 th June, 2014

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  • PREV DEFINITION Concealment Concealment is the act of hiding or not putting forward any relevant fact in front of the insurer that need to be revealed. Read More
  • NEXT DEFINITION Contingent Beneficiary Contingent beneficiary gets proceeds from the policy in the event of a demise of the primary beneficiary at the same time as that of the insured. Read More

What is 'Conditional Assignment'

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  • LIFE INSURANCE INSURANCE INSURANCE POLICY RETURN
  • LIFE INSURANCE POLICY INSURABLE INTEREST ANNUITY ASSIGNMENT
  • BENEFICIARY CLAIM AMOUNT ANNUALIZED PREMIUM ASSIGNEE
  • ASSIGNOR INSURABILITY CONDITIONAL ASSIGNMENT

: Motor third-party insurance or third-party liability cover, which is sometimes also referred to as the 'act only' cover, is a statutory requirement under the Motor Vehicles Act. It is referred to as a 'third-party' cover since the beneficiary of the policy is someone other than the two parties involved in the contract (the car owner and the insurance company). The policy does not provide any

An absolute assignment is the act of complete transfer of the ownership (all rights, benefits and liabilities) of the policy completely to other party without any terms and condition. Description: Absolute assignment shifts the ownership of the insurance policy. For instance, a policy owner X wants to gift his life insurance policy to another person named Y. Hence X is doing absolute assignment.

Accidental death benefit and dismemberment is an additional benefit paid to the policyholder in the event of his death due to an accident. Dismemberment benefit is paid if the insured dies or loses his limbs or sight in the accident. Description: In an event of death, the insured person gets the additional amount mentioned under these benefits in the insurance policy. These are the supplementary

A valuation of the damaged property, i.e. its monetary worth at market value immediately preceding the occurrence of the loss, is called actual cash value of the property. It gives the estimate of the cost of replacement or repair of the damaged asset. Description: To ascertain the exact extent of loss, the insurance company undertakes an evaluation of the property before and after the loss occur

Actuarial Science is a discipline that deals with assessing the risks in insurance and finance field using various mathematical and statistical method. Description: The professionals who carry out these tasks of ascertaining, analyzing and providing solutions of future uncertainties having financial risks are the actuaries. Mathematics of probability and statistics are the major tools they use to

A person with expertise in the fields of economics, statistics and mathematics, who helps in risk assessment and estimation of premiums etc for an insurance business, is called an actuary. Description: Insurance business requires advanced statistical and analytical skills for evaluation of risks and returns associated with each proposal. Insurance companies employ these experts from the field of

Adverse selection is a phenomenon wherein the insurer is confronted with the probability of loss due to risk not factored in at the time of sale. This occurs in the event of an asymmetrical flow of information between the insurer and the insured. Description: Adverse selection occurs when the insured deliberately hides certain pertinent information from the insurer. The information may be of crit

An agent is a person who represents an insurance firm and sells insurance policies on its behalf. Description: Generally, there are two types of such agents who reach the prospective parties that may be interested in buying insurance. These are independent agents and captive or exclusive agents. Independent agents may represent many insurance firms and receive commission for their services a

The total amount of premium paid annually is called the annualized premium. Description: Any insurance policy comes up with many premium payment options. Premium can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi annually and annually. For instance, if the monthly premium is Rs 2000, then the annualised premium will be 2000*12 = Rs 24000 Also See: Insurance, Concealment, Bancassurance

Annualized premium equivalent (APE) is a common measure of ascertaining the business sales in the life insurance industry. It is the sum of the regular annualized premium from the new business plus 10% of the first single premium in a given period. Description: APE is computed as: APE = Annualized regular premium + 10 % of single premium (Including top-up premium). Where annualized regular pre

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About High Blood Pressure

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  • High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal.
  • High blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms.
  • High blood pressure usually develops over time.

Definition of blood pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.

What are normal blood pressure numbers?

A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. 1

No matter your age, you can take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range .

What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension).

The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease , heart attack , and stroke .

When the heart pumps blood through the arteries, the blood puts pressure on the artery walls. This is known as blood pressure.

Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure. They can also make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic (first number) and diastolic (second number) blood pressure levels and comparing them to guidelines.

The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from one health care provider to another:

  • Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher. 2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
  • Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher. 1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.

Blood pressure levels according to The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (2003 Guideline) 2

systolic: less than 120 mm Hg diastolic: less than 80 mm Hg

At risk (prehypertension)

systolic: 120–139 mm Hg diastolic: 80–89 mm Hg

High blood pressure (hypertension)

systolic: 140 mm Hg or higher diastolic: 90 mm Hg or higher

Blood pressure levels according to The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults (2017 Guideline) 1

systolic: 120–129 mm Hg diastolic: less than 80 mm Hg

systolic: 130 mm Hg or higher diastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.

Signs and symptoms

High blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to know whether you have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions , such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy .

Hypertension complications: stroke, heart attack, kidney damage.

Potential problems having high blood pressure could casue

High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. It can seriously hurt important organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.

The good news is that, in most cases, you can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems.

Heart attack and heart disease

High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic. This decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease . In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:

  • Chest pain, also called angina.
  • Heart attack , which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
  • Heart failure , a condition that means your heart can't pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.

Stroke and brain problems

High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke . Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can cause death.

Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Health's Mind Your Risks ® campaign.

Kidney disease

Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those without these conditions.

Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes . Talk with your health care team about:

  • Physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
  • Not smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet, including limiting sodium (salt) and alcohol
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Managing stress

Learn more about ways to manage and prevent high blood pressure.

In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure.

Talk with your health care team right away if:

  • You think you have high blood pressure.
  • If you've been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.

By taking action to lower your blood pressure, you can help protect yourself against heart disease and stroke, also called cardiovascular disease (CVD).

  • Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow, WS, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol . 2018;71(19):e127–e248.
  • National High Blood Pressure Education Program. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure [PDF – 223K] . National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2003.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans.

For Everyone

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