Country Bankers Insurance Corp. v. Lianga Bay and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative

G.R.No. 136914, 25 January 2002, 308 SCRA 559

FACTS:

1. Respondent, Llanga Bay and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and petitioner entered into a contract of fire insurance to protect respondent’s stocks-in-trade against fire loss, damage or liability for P200,000.00;

2. The respondent’s building was gutted in a fire resulting in the total loss of the respondent’s stocks-in-trade, pieces of furniture and fixtures, equipment and records.

3. The petitioner denied the insurance claim on the ground that the building was set on fire by two (2) NPA rebels who wanted to obtain canned goods, rice and medicines as provisions for their comrades in the forest, and that such loss was an excepted risk under paragraph No. 6 of the policy conditions of Fire Insurance Policy.

4. Paragraph 6 provides that the insurance does not cover any loss or damage through or in consequence of mutiny, riot, military or popular uprising, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, military or usurped power.

5. RTC – Found for the respondent; CA – affirmed RTC’s decision

ISSUE:

Whether the stocks-in-trade were burned by NPA rebels and thus an excepted risk under the fire insurance policy.

HELD:

NO.

A party is bound by his own affirmative allegations. This is a well-known postulate echoed in Section 1 of Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of Court. Each party must prove his own affirmative allegations by the amount of evidence required by law which in civil cases, as in this case, is preponderance of evidence, to obtain a favorable judgment. In the instant case, the petitioner does not dispute that the respondent’s stocks-in-trade were insured against fire loss, damage or liability under Fire Insurance Policy No. F- 1397 and that the respondent lost its stocks-in-trade in a fire that occurred on July 1, 1989, within the duration of said fire insurance. The petitioner, however, posits the view that the cause of the loss was an excepted risk under the terms of the fire insurance policy. Where a risk is excepted by the terms of a policy which insures against other perils or hazards, loss from such a risk constitutes a defense which the insurer may urge, since it has not assumed that risk, and from this it follows that an insurer seeking to defeat a claim because of an exception or limitation in the policy has the burden of proving that the loss comes within the purview of the exception or limitation set up. If a proof is made of a loss apparently within a contract of insurance, the burden is upon the insurer to prove that the loss arose from a cause of loss which is excepted or for which it is not liable, or from a cause which limits its liability. Stated elsewise, since the petitioner in this case is defending on the ground of non-coverage and relying upon an exemption or exception clause in the fire insurance policy, it has the burden of proving the facts upon which such excepted risk is based, by a preponderance of evidence. But petitioner failed to do so. The Sworn Statements of Jose Lomocso and Ernesto Urbiztondo are inadmissible in evidence, for being hearsay, inasmuch as they did not take the witness stand and could not therefore be cross-examined. The petitioner’s evidence to prove its defense is sadly wanting and thus, gives rise to its liability to the respondent under Fire Insurance Policy No. F-1397.

*Case digest by Mark Milan, LLB-4, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019

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