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Woodrow v. Travelers Insurance Co.

Decided: September 16, 1938.

ELLA WOODROW, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Supreme Court, Camden Circuit.

For the plaintiff-respondent, Irving M. Lichtenstein.

For the defendant-appellant, Bleakly, Stockwell & Burling.

Wells

The opinion of the court was delivered by

WELLS, J. This is an appeal from a judgment entered in the Supreme Court, Camden Circuit, in favor of the plaintiff, Ella Woodrow, and against the defendant, The Travelers Insurance Company, hereinafter called the Insurance Company, in an action for recovery of death benefits.

In 1925 the Insurance Company issued to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, hereinafter called A. & P. Company, as employer, a group insurance policy contracting to pay certain benefits upon the death or incapacity of employes. Pursuant to the terms of the master policy, individual certificates were issued to the employer, for delivery to the employes, setting forth the amount of coverage, the name of the beneficiary, and other pertinent data.

One Charles Woodrow, deceased husband of the plaintiff, was employed by the A. & P. Company for some twenty years up until January 14th, 1935, at which time he had served as a store manager for approximately five years. Pursuant to his employment and under the terms of the master policy, Mr. Woodrow received two insurance certificates, one in the amount of $1,000 and the other in the amount of $3,000. The plaintiff, Ella Woodrow, was the beneficiary named in each of these certificates.

One of the terms or conditions of the master policy, equally applicable to the individual certificates, was as follows:

"Termination of Insurance -- The insurance of any employe covered hereunder shall end when his employment with the Employer shall end except in a case where at the time of such termination the Employe shall be wholly disabled and prevented by bodily injury or disease from engaging in any occupation or employment for wage or profit. In such case the insurance will remain in force as to such Employe during the continuance of such disability for the period of three months from the date upon which the Employe ceased to work and thereafter during the continuance of such disability and while this policy shall remain in force until the Employer shall notify the Company to terminate the insurance as to such Employe. Nothing in this paragraph contained shall limit or extend the Permanent Total Disability Benefit to which an Employe shall become entitled under this policy."

On May 19th, 1935, four months after the cessation of his employment with the A. & P. Company, Mr. Woodrow died, the cause thereof being given as "dilatation of the heart, tubular nephritis." The plaintiff called upon the defendant Insurance Company for payment of death benefits, and upon its refusal this action was started. The allegation of the complaint is that Mr. Woodrow, by reason of disease, was "wholly disabled" from engaging in any employment for wages or profit * * * at the time his employment ceased, which condition continued until the time of death.

Upon trial, evidence was introduced by both parties as to the decedent's disability, which will be ...


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