Riddick v. Yorkshire Ins. Co.

Decision Date23 July 1932
Citation52 S.W.2d 166,165 Tenn. 105
PartiesRIDDICK et al. v. YORKSHIRE INS. CO. et al. SAME v. NIAGARA FIRE INS. CO. et al.
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

Appeal from Chancery Court, Shelby County; D. W. De Haven Chancellor.

Suits by T. K. Riddick and another against the Yorkshire Insurance Company and another and against the Niagara Fire Insurance Company and another. From decrees for plaintiffs, defendants appeal.


T. A Evans and J. E. McCadden, both of Memphis, for complainant.

R. L Bartels, of Memphis, for defendants.


The opinion of the chancellor so clearly expresses our views of these causes that we adopt and make it the opinion of this court. It is as follows:

"The purpose of the two above suits is to recover of defendants on certain policies of fire insurance. The facts are not in controversy, and have been stipulated by counsel for the respective parties. The principal question presented for determination is whether complainants are entitled to recover of defendants the full amount of insurance named in the respective policies, aggregating $45,000, or whether they are only entitled to recover the value of the buildings destroyed by fire (as of the date of the fire), to wit, $36,546? The answer to the question made depends upon the validity of chapter 72 of the Public Acts of 1927, and, if valid, the proper construction thereof. Defendants assert said act to be unconstitutional and void because violative of article 2, § 17, of the Constitution of the state of Tennessee, in that it contains two subjects, to wit: (a) The regulation of contracts of fire insurance, and (b) the inspection of buildings insured to prevent overinsurance; and also because the body of the act is broader than its caption. Said act is as follows:
'A bill to be entitled "An Act to regulate contracts of fire insurance in this state, to provide for the inspection of all buildings, insured, to prevent over insurance, and to repeal Chapter 447 of the Acts of 1909."

Section 1. *** That every agent, within ninety days after making or writing any contract of fire insurance on any building or buildings in this State, shall cause the same to be personally inspected, and no Company, and no officer or agent thereof, and no insurance broker shall knowingly issue, negotiate, continue or renew or cause to permit to be issued, negotiated, continued or renewed any fire insurance policy upon property or interests within the State of an amount which, with any existing insurance thereon, exceeds the fair value of the property.

Sec. 2. *** That if buildings within the State insured against loss by fire are totally destroyed by fire, the Company shall not be liable beyond the actual value of the insured property at the time of the loss or damage; and if it shall appear that the insured has paid premiums on an amount in excess of said actual value, he shall be reimbursed the proportionate excess or premiums paid on the difference between the amount named in the policy and said actual value, with interest at six per cent. per annum from the date of issue; and said excess or premiums and interest thereon shall be allowed the insured from the time any Companies carrying said insurance at the time of the loss have continuously carried the insurance on the destroyed buildings, whether under policies existing at the time of the loss or under previous policies in the same Companies.

Provided if the Agent fails to place a reasonable value on any such insured property within the ninety days as aforesaid and which is agreed to by the insured and a loss occurs in that event the value as shown by the policy or application shall be conclusively presumed to be reasonable and the settlement shall be made on that basis.

Sec. 3. *** That Chapter 447 of the Acts of 1909 entitled, "An Act to regulate contracts for fire insurance in this State, and to repeal Chapter 107 of the Acts of 1893 and Chapter 539 of the Acts of 1903" be, and the same is, hereby repealed, and the repeal thereof shall not operate to revive any act or acts therein repealed.

Sec. 4. *** That this Act take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.'

"It is obvious that the general purpose of the act, as ascertainable from the caption, is the regulation of contracts of fire insurance so as to prevent overinsurance. Any provision, therefore, contained in the act relating directly or indirectly, to the subject-matter expressed in the title, and having a natural connection thereto, must be held to be embraced therein. In my opinion, the provision of the act with reference to the personal inspection of the building insured is germane to the subject of regulating fire insurance contracts to prevent overinsurance. The provision for such inspection is not another and different subject wholly unrelated to the purpose of the act; on the contrary, it has a natural connection thereto. The recognized rule, adopted by our Supreme Court, is that, so long as the subject-matter of the body of the act is germane to that expressed in the title, there is obedience to the mandate of the Constitution. Petty v. Phoenix Cotton Oil Co., 150 Tenn. 292, 264 S.W. 353; Wilson v. State, 143 Tenn. 55, 224 S.W. 168; Crawford v. Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry., 153 Tenn. 642, 284 S.W. 892. The intent of the constitutional provision as to the one subject of legislation was to prevent the union in the same act of incongruous matters and of objects having no connection or relation. Memphis St. R. Co. v. Byrne, 119 Tenn. 287, 104 S.W. 460; Bell v. Hart, 143 Tenn. 587, 223 S.W. 996.

"It is further objected by learned counsel for defendants that, while the inspection after the contract is written relates to buildings alone, yet the requirement that no contract shall be issued, etc., in excess of the fair value of the property, applies to insurance upon all character of property, i. e., 'upon property or interests within the State.' In my opinion, the act undertakes to deal alone with the subject of contracts of fire insurance on buildings. The expression 'upon property or interests' must be held to mean buildings whether owned in whole or in part by the insured. The act has to do only with the insurance of buildings and the insurance of personal property is not within its terms.

"Again it is objected that the body of the act is broader than its caption, in that a provision is contained in section 2 thereof for the reimbursement of the insured of proportionate excess of premiums paid on the difference between the amount named in the policy and the actual value of the property insured; and includes not only premiums upon...

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6 cases
  • Rushing v. Tennessee Crime Com'n
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • May 27, 1938
    ... ... the general purpose expressed. Riddick v. Insurance ... Co., 165 Tenn. 105, 52 S.W.2d 166; Mensi v ... Walker, 160 Tenn. 468, 26 S.W.2d ... ...
  • Third Nat. Co. v. Thompson
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals
    • August 25, 1945
    ... ... this as a representation in the policies. Cooley v. East & West Ins. Co., 166 Tenn. 405, 410, 419, 61 S.W.2d 656, ... 658, 661; Alfred v. Bankers' & Shippers' Ins ... policies, having been written more than ninety days, had ... become valued policies, Riddick v. Insurance ... Company, 165 Tenn. 105, 52 S.W.2d 166, this objection ... was purely frivolous, ... ...
  • Johnson Transfer & Freight Lines, Inc. v. American Nat. Fire Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • February 25, 1935
    ... ... Laurenzi v. Atlas Ins. Co., 131 Tenn. 644, 176 S.W ... 1022; Thompson v. Concordia Fire Ins. Co., 142 Tenn ... 408, 215 S.W. 932; Riddick v. Yorkshire Ins. Co., ... 165 Tenn. 105, 52 S.W.(2d) 166 ...          It is ... next urged that the policy issued by the Western ... ...
  • Steadfast Invs. & Props. v. AmGUARD Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Tennessee
    • December 28, 2023
    ... ... (See D.E. 24-1 at PagelD 205 (citing Com. Union ... Ins. Co. v. Sneed, 541 S.W.2d 943, 944 (Tenn. 1976); ... Riddick v. Yorkshire Ins. Co., 52 S.W.2d 166 (Tenn ... 1932); Price v. Allstate Ins. Co., 614 S.W.2d 377, ... 379 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1981); ... ...
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