Republic Nat. Life Ins. Co. v. Spillars, A-9457

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Citation5 A.L.R.3d 957,368 S.W.2d 92
Docket NumberNo. A-9457,A-9457
PartiesREPUBLIC NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. Sudie SPILLARS et al., Respondents.
Decision Date22 May 1963

Thomas G. Nash, Jr., Dallas, for petitioner.

Mac L. Bennett, Jr., Normangee, Fulbright, Crooker, Freeman, Bates & Jaworski, M. W. Parse, Jr., with above firm, Houston, for respondents.

SMITH, Justice.

This is a suit on a group credit life insurance contract issued by Republic National Life Insurance Company to the Farmers State Bank of Madisonville, Texas. The original action was brought by the Bank against the estate of J. D. Spillars, Sr., to recover on a promissory note. By stipulation the Bank relinquished its claim against Republic National in favor of the estate of J. D. Spillars.

Sudie Spillars, as temporary administrator of the estate of J. D. Spillars, Sr., filed this third-party claim against Republic National seeking to recover the sum of $5,000.00, together with penalty and attorney fees, upon the theory that the life of J. D. Spillars, Sr., was insured at the time of his death under a policy of group credit life insurance. Sudie Spillars et al. recovered on their cross action in a nonjury trial and in the Court of Civil Appeals. 363 S.W.2d 373. The judgments of the courts below are reversed, and judgment is here rendered for Republic National Life Insurance Company.

The facts leading up to the filing of this suit are as follows: In 1957 or 1958 J. D. Spillars, Sr., became indebted to the Farmers State Bank; this debt was still in existence on July 1, 1960, when the group creditor life insurance contract between the Farmers State Bank and the Republic National became effective.

On December 23, 1960, Spillars executed a note to the Bank in renewal of the prior existing debt in the amount of $8,052.92. No additional funds were advanced or loaned to J. D. Spillars, Sr. On that same date Spillars delivered to the President of the creditor bank a check in the amount of the premium for his coverage under the group policy. Spillars did not then have sufficient funds on deposit to pay the check, and the President temporarily held it in his desk. Later Spillars told the Bank President he realized he was overdrawn, but that he would take care of the check. The President testified that 'he came back in here and told me that he was fixing to sell the calves and to go ahead and write the insurance; and I wrote the insurance on January 14th, at his request.' A certificate of insurance bearing the date of January 14, 1961, was issued to Spillars by the President of Farmers State Bank as the agent of Republic National. On January 17, 1961, three days after the issuance of the certificate of insurance, J. D. Spillars, Sr., died.

The controversy centers around the proper interpretation to be given the contractual provisions of the master policy issued to the Bank which relate to creditor coverage. The relevant provisions of the policy are as follows:

'Coverage: All debtors of the (Bank) * * *, whose respective names and amounts of indebtedness as of the effective date of this policy are submitted by the (Bank) to the Company * * *, shall be initially insured * * * on the effective date of this policy. * * * While this policy is in force, all new debtors * * * may likewise be insured hereinunder from the date they become new debtors of the (Bank).' (Emphasis added.)

It is undisputed in the record that: (1) on the effective date of the master contract, July 1, 1960, J. D. Spillars was a debtor of the Bank, and his name was not included as one of the debtors to be initially...

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  • Jones v. St. Paul Ins. Co., 13-86-274-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • December 11, 1986
    ...Applying rules of construction to the language used in a contract is also the duty of the courts. Republic National Life Insurance Co. v. Spillars, 368 S.W.2d 92, 94 (Tex.1963); Life Insurance Co. of North America v. Spradlin, 526 S.W.2d 625, 628-29 (Tex.Civ.App.--Fort Worth 1975, writ ref'......
  • Commonwealth Lloyd's Ins. Co. v. Thomas, 2-83-171-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 18, 1984
    ...719, 721 (Tex.1982); Ramsay v. Maryland American General Insurance Co., 533 S.W.2d 344, 349 (Tex.1976); Republic National Life Insurance Co. v. Spillars, 368 S.W.2d 92, 94 (Tex.1963). Although neither of the parties to this appeal cited any authorities that dealt directly with these points ......
  • Cmty. Health Sys. Prof'l Servs. Corp. v. Hansen, 14-1033.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • June 16, 2017
    ...notice was provided. We decline Dr. Hansen's request to add language to the contract. See Republic Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. Spillars , 368 S.W.2d 92, 94 (Tex. 1963) (explaining that a contract must be enforced as written when the language of the contract is plain and unambiguous).Given that s......
  • Booth v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., Civ. A. No. 91-2188-L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • July 2, 1992
    ...S.W.2d 655, 657 (Tex.Ct.App.1986). When a contract is not ambiguous, it is enforced according to its terms. Republic Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. Spillars, 368 S.W.2d 92, 94 (Tex.1963). In this case, the promissory note was not ambiguous as a matter of law. Under the clear terms of this agreement......
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