G.R. NO. 147839, 8 JUNE 2006, 490 SCRA 289

FACTS:

Intercapitol Marketing Corporation (IMC) is the maker of Wrangler Blue Jeans while Levi Strauss (Phils.) Inc. (LSPI) is the local distributor of products bearing trademarks owned by Levi Strauss & Co. IMC and LSPI separately obtained from Insurance Company of North America fire insurance policies for their book debt endorsements related to their ready-made clothing materials which have been sold or delivered to various customers and dealers of the Insured anywhere in the Philippines which are unpaid 45 days after the time of the loss.
The policies also provide for the following conditions:
1. Warranted that the Company shall not be liable for any unpaid account in respect of the merchandise sold and delivered by the Insured which are outstanding at the date of loss for a period in excess of six (6) months from the date of the covering invoice or actual delivery of the merchandise whichever shall first occur.
2. Warranted that the Insured shall submit to the Company within twelve (12) days after the close of every calendar month all amount shown in their books of accounts as unpaid and thus become receivable item from their customers and dealers.

On February 25, 1991, Gaisano Superstore Complex in Cagayan de Oro City, owned by Gaisano Cagayan, Inc., containing the ready-made clothing materials sold and delivered by IMC and LSPI was consumed by fire. On February 4, 1992, Insurance Company of North America filed a complaint for damages against Gaisano Cagayan, Inc. alleges that IMC and LSPI filed their claims under their respective fire insurance policies which it paid thus it was subrogated to their rights. The RTC rendered its decision dismissing Insurance’s complaint. It held that the fire was purely accidental; that the cause of the fire was not attributable to the negligence of the petitioner. Also, it said that IMC and LSPI retained ownership of the delivered goods and must bear the loss.
The CA rendered its decision and set aside the decision of the RTC. It ordered Gaisano to pay Insurance the P 2 million and the P 500,000 the latter paid to IMC and Levi Strauss.
Hence this petition.

ISSUE:

W/N Insurance Company of North America can claim against Gaisano Cagayan for the debt that was isnured

HELD:

YES. petition is partly GRANTED. Order to pay P535,613 is DELETED
The insurance policy is clear that the subject of the insurance is the book debts and NOT goods sold and delivered to the customers and dealers of the insured.
ART. 1504. Unless otherwise agreed, the goods remain at the seller’s risk until the ownership therein is transferred to the buyer, but when the ownership therein is transferred to the buyer the goods are at the buyer’s risk whether actual delivery has been made or not, except that:

(1) Where delivery of the goods has been made to the buyer or to a bailee for the buyer, in pursuance of the contract and the ownership in the goods has been retained by the seller merely to secure performance by the buyer of his obligations under the contract, the goods are at the buyer’s risk from the time of such delivery;

IMC and LSPI did not lose complete interest over the goods. They have an insurable interest until full payment of the value of the delivered goods. Unlike the civil law concept of res perit domino, where ownership is the basis for consideration of who bears the risk of loss, in property insurance, one’s interest is not determined by concept of title, but whether insured has substantial economic interest in the property

Section 13 of our Insurance Code defines insurable interest as “every interest in property, whether real or personal, or any relation thereto, or liability in respect thereof, of such nature that a contemplated peril might directly damnify the insured.” Parenthetically, under Section 14 of the same Code, an insurable interest in property may consist in: (a) an existing interest; (b) an inchoate interest founded on existing interest; or (c) an expectancy, coupled with an existing interest in that out of which the expectancy arises.

Anyone has an insurable interest in property who derives a benefit from its existence or would suffer loss from its destruction. It is sufficient that the insured is so situated with reference to the property that he would be liable to loss should it be injured or destroyed by the peril against which it is insured. An insurable interest in property does not necessarily imply a property interest in, or a lien upon, or possession of, the subject. The matter of the insurance, and neither the title nor a beneficial interest is requisite to the existence of such an interest.

Insurance in this case is not for loss of goods by fire but for petitioner’s accounts with IMC and LSPI that remained unpaid 45 days after the fire – obligation is pecuniary in nature. The obligor should be held exempt from liability when the loss occurs thru a fortuitous event only holds true when the obligation consists in the delivery of a determinate thing and there is no stipulation holding him liable even in case of fortuitous event.

Article 1263 of the Civil Code in an obligation to deliver a generic thing, the loss or destruction of anything of the same kind does not extinguish the obligation (Genus nunquan perit). The subrogation receipt, by itself, is sufficient to establish not only the relationship of respondent as insurer and IMC as the insured, but also the amount paid to settle the insurance claim.

Art. 2207. If the plaintiff’s property has been insured, and he has received indemnity from the insurance company for the injury or loss arising out of the wrong or breach of contract complained of, the insurance company shall be subrogated to the rights of the insured against the wrongdoer or the person who has violated the contract.

As to LSPI, no subrogation receipt was offered in evidence. Failure to substantiate the claim of subrogation is fatal to petitioner’s case for recovery of the amount of P535,613

*Case digest by Kharla Angelique B. Ko-Tubat, LLB-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019