Filipino Merchants Insurance v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 85141, 28 November 1989, 179 SCRA 638


In 1976, private respondent insured its shipment with petitioner insurance company for the sum of P267,653.59 for the goods described as 60 metric tons of fishmeal in new gunny bags of 90 kilos each from Thailand to Manila against all risks under warehouse to warehouse terms.
The fishmeal in 666 new gunny bags were unloaded from the ship at Manila unto the arrastre contractor E. Razon, Inc. and defendant’s surveyor ascertained and certified that 227 bags were in bad order condition as jointly surveyed by the ship’s agent and the arrastre contractor.
Consequently, the private respondent made a formal claim against the petitioner Filipino Merchants Insurance Company for P51,568.62. A formal claim statement was also presented by the private respondent against the vessel, but the petitioner Filipino Merchants Insurance Company refused to pay the claim.
Later, the court rendered judgment in favor of private respondent.
On appeal, the respondent court affirmed the decision of the lower court.
A motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid decision was denied, hence this petition.


Whether or not the insurer is liable under an “all risks” policy.


Petitioner contends that an “all risks” marine policy has a technical meaning in insurance in that before a claim can be compensable it is essential that there must be “some fortuity, ” “casualty” or “accidental cause” to which the alleged loss is attributable and the failure of herein private respondent, upon whom lay the burden, to adduce evidence showing that the alleged loss to the cargo in question was due to a fortuitous event precludes his right to recover from the insurance policy. However, the SC ruled that the above contention is untenable.
A marine insurance policy providing that the insurance was to be “against all risks” must be construed as creating a special insurance and extending to other risks than are usually contemplated, and covers all losses except such as arise from the fraud of the insured. The burden of the insured, therefore, is to prove merely that the goods he transported have been lost, destroyed or deteriorated. Thereafter, the burden is shifted to the insurer to prove that the loss was due to excepted perils. To impose on the insured the burden of proving the precise cause of the loss or damage would be inconsistent with the broad protective purpose of “all risks” insurance.
In the present case, there being no showing that the loss was caused by any of the excepted perils, the insurer is liable under the policy.

*Case digest by Oscar Lim Abadies Jr, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019

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