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Assignment or transfer of policies and nominations Assignment and transfer of insurance policies

38. (1) A transfer or assign¬ment of a policy of life insurance, whether with or without consideration, may be made only by an endorsement upon the policy itself or by a separate instrument, signed in either case by the transferor or by the assignor or his duly authorised agent and attested by at least one witness, specifically setting forth the fact of transfer or assignment.

(2) The transfer or assignment shall be complete and effectual upon the execution of such endorsement or instrument duly attested but except where the transfer or assignment is in favour of the insurer shall not be operative as against an Insurer and shall not confer upon the transferee or assignee, or his legal representative, any right to sue for the amount of such policy or the moneys secured thereby until a notice in writing of the transfer or assignment if and either the said endorsement or instrument itself or a copy thereof certified to be correct by both transferor and transferee or their duly authorised agents have been delivered to the insurer:

Provided that where the insurer maintains one or more places of business in India, such notice shall be delivered only at the place in s[India] mentioned in the policy for the purpose or at his principal place of business in India.

(3) The date on which the notice referred to in sub section (2) is deli¬vered to the insurer shall regulate the priority of all claims under a transfer or assignment as between persons interested in the policy: and where there is more then one instrument of transfer or assignment, the priority of the claims under such instruments shall be governed by the order in which the notices referred to in sub section (2) are delivered.

(4) Upon the receipt of the notice referred to in sub section (2), the insurer shall record the fact of such transfer or assignment together with the date thereof and the name of the transferee or the assignee and shall, on the request of the person by whom the notice was given, or of the transferee or assignee, on payment of a fee not exceeding one rupee, grant a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such notice; and any such acknowledgment shall be conclusive evidence against the insurer that he has duly received the notice to which such acknowledgment relates.

(5) Subject to the terms and conditions of the transfer or assignment, the insurer shall, from the date of the receipt of the notice referred to in subsection (2), recognise the transferee or assignee named in the notice as the only person entitled to benefit under the policy, and such person shall subject to all liabilities and equities to which the transferor or assignor was subject at the date of the transfer or assignment and may institute any proceedings in relation to the policy without obtaining the consent of the transferor or assignor or making him a party to such proceedings.

(6) Any rights and remedies of an assignee or transferee of a policy of life insurance under an assignment or transfer affected prior to the commencement of this Act shall not be affected by the provisions of this section.

(7) Notwithstanding any law or custom having the force of law to the contrary, and assignment in favour of a person made with the condition that it shall be inoperative or that the interest shall pass to some other person on the happening of a specified event during the lifetime of the person whose life is insured, and an assignment in favour of the survivor or survivors of a number of persons shall be valid.

Nomination by policy holder

39. (1) The holder of a policy of life insurance on his own life, may, when effecting the policy or at any time before the policy matures for payment, nominate the person or persons to whom the money secured by the policy shall be paid in the event of his death:

Provided that, where any nominee is a minor, it shall be lawful for the policy holder to appoint in the prescribed manner any person to receive the money secured by the policy in the event of his death during the minority of the nominee.

(2) Any such nomination in order to be effectual shall, unless it is incorporated in the text of the policy itself, be made by an endorsement on the policy communicated to the insurer and registered by him in the records relating to the policy and any such nomination may at any time before the policy matures for payment be cancelled or changed by an endorsement or a further endorsement or a will, as the case may be, but unless notice in writing of any such cancellation or change has been delivered to the insurer, the insurer shall not be liable for any payment under the policy made bona fide by him to a nominee mentioned in the text of the policy or registered in records of the insurer.

(3) The insurer shall furnish to the policy holder a written acknowledgment of having registered a nomination or a cancellation change thereof, and may charge a fee not exceeding one rupee for registering such cancellation or change.

(4) A transfer or assignment of a policy made in accordance with section 38 shall automatically cancel a nomination:

Provided that the assignment of a policy to the insurer who bears the rats on the policy at the time of the assignment, in consideration of a loan granted by that insurer on the security of the policy within its surrender value, or its re¬assignment on repayment of the loan shall not cancel a nomination, but shall affect the rights of the nominee only to the extent of the insurer's interest in the policy.

(5) Where the policy matures for payment during the lifetime of the person whose life is insured or where the nominee or, if there are more nominees than one, all the nominees die before the policy-holder or his heirs or legal representatives or the holder of a succession certificate, as the case may be.

(6) Where the nominee or, if there are more nominees than one, a nominee or nominees survive the person whose life is insured, the amount secured by the policy shall be payable to such survivor or survivors.

(7) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any policy of life insurance to which section 6 of the Married Women's Property Act, 1874 (3 of 1874), applies or has at any time applied:

Provided that where a nomination made whether before or after the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1946 (VII of 1946), in favour of the wife of the person who has insured his life or of his wife and children or any of them is expressed, whether or not on the face of the policy as being made under this section, the said section 6 shall be deemed not to apply or not to have applied to the policy.

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