☰ Revisor of Missouri


Chapter 376

< > Effective - 28 Aug 2007, 2 histories, see footnote (history) bottom

  376.620.  Suicide, effect on liability — refund of premiums, when. — 1.  Any life insurance or certificate issued or delivered in this state may exclude or restrict liability of death as the result of suicide in the event the insured, while sane or insane, dies as a result of suicide within one year from the date of the issue of the policy or certificate.  Any such exclusion or restriction shall be clearly stated in the policy or certificate.

  2.  Any life insurance policy or certificate which contains any exclusion or restriction under subsection 1 of this section shall also provide that in the event the insured dies as a result of suicide within one year from the date of issue of the policy that the insurer shall promptly refund all premiums paid for coverage on such insured.


(RSMo 1939 § 5851, A.L. 2007 S.B. 66)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 5740; 1919 § 6150; 1909 § 6945

(1953) Presumption of sanity disappears upon proof by substantial evidence of suicide. Such presumption in a civil case cannot be weighed against evidence. Sturm v. Washington Nat. Ins. Co., 208 F.2d 97.

(1958) This statute does not create a cause of action on account of suicide, but bars a defense of suicide where, under terms of contract, liability would exist if death occurred in same manner and from same cause as if there was no suicide.  Thus policy provisions excluding accidental death resulting from mental infirmity is not affected by the statute. Kaskowitz v. Aetna Life Ins. Co. (A.), 316 S.W.2d 132.

(1961) Suicide statute may not be availed of to extend coverage to accidents not covered by policy, namely, to a case where death resulted "directly or indirectly ... from any bodily or mental disease or infirmity". Ieppert v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co. (A.), 347 S.W.2d 436.

(1970) Kaskowitz v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. (A.), 316 S.W.2d 132, and Ieppert v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. (A.), 347 S.W.2d 436, overruled. Mentally ill insured's death from self-inflicted gunshot wounds was not excluded from coverage of accidental death provision in policies by clause which stated that death resulting from or by the contribution of disease or bodily or mental infirmity was excluded from coverage.  Sommer v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. (Mo. en banc), 449 S.W.2d 644.

(1980) A group accident insurance policy to cover "accidental bodily injury" did not include suicide when the language of policy excluded intentionally inflicted injury and section 376.620 is irrelevant in this situation. Miller v. Home Insurance (Mo.) 605 S.W.2d 778.

(1984) The words "issued to" as used in this section mean "sold to". Consequently, a suicide exclusion in a life insurance policy purchased by a Missouri corporation was inoperative, despite the fact that the owner of the policy was a resident of Kansas. Perkins v. Philadelphia Life Ins. Co. (8th Cir.), 755 F.2d 632.

(1986) Actions under sections 375.296, 375.420 and 376.620, RSMo, against a self-insured welfare benefit trust held to have been preempted by provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, section 1144 of title 29, United States Code. Hoeflicker v. Central States, Etc., Health & Welfare, 644 F.Supp. 195 (W.D. Mo.).

(1993) Statute which mandates insurance policy provision that death by suicide while insane is a covered accidental death is preempted by federal ERISA statute.  The civil enforcement provisions of 29 U.S.C.  1132(a) are the exclusive remedy for beneficiaries seeking to enforce their rights under an ERISA plan.  Donatelli v. Home Insurance Co., 992 F.2d 763 (8th Cir.).

---- end of effective  28 Aug 2007 ----

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