Brennan, Wm. J., Jr., J.s.c.
These five cases have been consolidated and submitted under stipulations of facts for determination by the court without a jury.
Each plaintiff sues as a beneficiary named in an insurance certificate issued to an employee of defendant, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, under a group insurance policy issued to that company by defendant, The Travelers Insurance Company.
Each of the employees was inducted into military service during the recent war while employed by The Babcock & Wilcox Company and each was killed in action in the year 1944.
Each plaintiff seeks a judgment either against The Travelers or against Babcock & Wilcox for the amounts payable under the insurance certificate issued to the deceased employee. The defense of both defendants is that each certificate was effectively canceled prior to the death of the employee.
The group policy was issued in 1936 and by its terms all premiums were payable and were in fact paid by the employer. At or before delivery thereunder of certificates to the respective employees each received a pamphlet captioned "Free
Group Life Insurance Plan for Employees" which stated the terms and conditions under which the certificate was held, and each certificate also stated that it was issued in accordance with the plan and under all of its terms and conditions. Two pertinent articles of the plan read as follows:
"IX. TERMINATION OF INSURANCE.
"The insurance of any employee insured under the Group Life Insurance Policy issued under this Plan will terminate upon the termination of his employment, except that in cases where employment was terminated by reason of an approved leave of absence granted to the employee or because of reduction of force -- as shown by the records of the Company -- such insurance will continue as long as such employee continues on the insurance roll -- as shown by the records of the Company -- but not for more than three months after such termination of employment."
"IX. CONTINUANCE OF PLAN.
"This Plan is entirely voluntary on the part of the Company. The Company reserves the right to change, modify or discontinue this Plan and any insurance in effect thereunder on any quarter date."
Before or at the time of the entry into military service of each of the deceased employees, each received from his ...