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TRAVELLERS INSURANCE & SURETY CORP. v.

CA (MENDOZA) 272 SCRA 536HERMOSISIMA, JR; May 22, 1997 NATURE The petition herein seeks the review and reversal of the decision of respondent Court of Appeals affirmingin toto the judgment of the Regional Trial Court in ana c t i o n f o r d a m a g e s f i l e d b y p r i v a t e r e s p o n d e n t Vicente Mendoza, Jr. as heir of his mother who waskilled in a vehicular accident. FACTS -an old lady was hit by a taxicab. The taxicab was later identified and a case was filed against the driverand owner. Later, an amendment was filed to includethe insurance company. RTC and CA ordered that theowner, driver as well as the insurance company beheld solidarily liable. ISSUE WON RTC and CA erred HELD YES- Where the contract provides for indemnity againstliability to third persons, then third persons to whomthe insured is liable can sue the insurer. Where thec o n t r a c t i s f o r i n d e m n i t y a g a i n s t a c t u a l l o s s o r payment, then third persons cannot proceed against the insurer, the contract being solely to reimbursethe insured for liability actually discharged by himthru payment to third persons, said third persons'recourse being thus limited to the insured alone. Butin the case at bar, there was no contract shown.What then was the basis of the RTC and the CAto say that the insurance contract was a third-party liability insurance policy? Consequently, thetrial court was confused as it did not distinguishbetween the private respondent's cause of actionagainst the owner and the driver of the Lady Lovetaxicab and his cause of action against petitioner.The former is based on torts and quasi-delicts whilethe latter is based on contract.- Even assuming arguendo that there was such acontract, private respondent's cause of action cannot prevail because he failed to file the writtenclaim mandated by the Insurance Code (beforeit was amended-action must be brought withinsix months from date of the accident (this iswhats applicable here) ; a f t e r a m e n d m e n t - "action or suit for recovery of damage due to loss orinjury must be brought in proper cases, with theCommissioner or the Courts within one year fromdenial of the claim, otherwise the claimant's right of action shall prescribe" ) . He is deemed, under thislegal provision, to have waived his rights as againstpetitionerinsurer. Disposition: petition granted