G.R. No. 55397. February 29, 1988 (Case Brief / Digest)

### Title:
Tai Tong Chuache & Co. vs. The Insurance Commission and Travellers Multi-Indemnity Corporation

### Facts:
The petitioner, Tai Tong Chuache & Co., acquired a parcel of land and a building in San Rafael Village, Davao City, which was mortgaged to the Social Security System (SSS) and insured for P25,000. Azucena Palomo, to secure a loan of P100,000 from Tai Tong Chuache & Co., mortgaged the same property. The insurance for the building and its contents was procured from Travellers Multi-Indemnity Corporation for P100,000. Subsequent insurance policies were also obtained from Zenith Insurance Corporation and Philippine British Assurance Company, covering the building and its contents.

On July 31, 1975, a fire completely destroyed the insured property. The claim was adjusted, and payments were made by Zenith Insurance, Philippine British Assurance, and the SSS Accredited Group of Insurers according to their share of the insured risk, but Travellers Multi-Indemnity denied their claim. Tai Tong Chuache & Co. intervened in the claim, asserting entitlement to the proceeds based on their mortgage interest in the property. Their complaint and subsequent motion for reconsideration were dismissed by the Insurance Commission, which held that they had no insurable interest in the property at the time of loss. Tai Tong Chuache & Co. then filed the present petition.

### Issues:
1. Whether Tai Tong Chuache & Co. had an insurable interest in the property at the time of the fire.
2. Whether the Insurance Commission erred in dismissing the complaint on the basis of an erroneous conclusion regarding the payment of the mortgage prior to the fire.

### Court’s Decision:
The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the Insurance Commission and held that Tai Tong Chuache & Co. did have an insurable interest in the property as a mortgagee at the time of the fire. The Court found that the Insurance Commission’s conclusion regarding the presumed payment of the mortgage was incorrect and not supported by sufficient evidence. In contrast, Tai Tong Chuache & Co. presented evidence, including the uncancelled mortgage contract, to substantiate their claim. As such, Travellers Multi-Indemnity Corporation was ordered to pay Tai Tong Chuache & Co. the face value of the insurance policy amounting to P100,000.

### Doctrine:
The case reaffirms the principle that a mortgagee has an insurable interest in the mortgaged property. It also emphasizes the importance of proving each party’s affirmative allegations with the requisite amount of evidence, particularly in civil cases where the burden of proof is by preponderance of evidence.

### Class Notes:

– **Insurable Interest Doctrine**: In insurance law, an insurable interest exists when the policyholder has a legal or equitable interest in the safety or preservation of the subject of the insurance, such as property or life, against insurable losses or damages.
– **Burden of Proof**: The requirement to prove one’s assertion or claim. In civil cases, it is the responsibility of each party to establish their claims or defenses with evidence that has more convincing force than that presented by the opposing party.
– **Evidence and Inferences**: A decision based on conjectures or weak inferences is vulnerable to being overturned. Proper documentary and testimonial evidence should solidly back claims and defenses.

### Historical Background:
This case is situated within the broader context of insurance law in the Philippines, where the rights and obligations of parties to an insurance contract, particularly in property and casualty insurance, are rigorously interpreted by the courts. The decision reiterates fundamental principles regarding the determination of insurable interests and the evidentiary requirements to uphold such interests in disputes arising from insurance claims.


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