Appeal court reduced punitive damages award against a disability insurer

Long term disability insurer's appeal of a punitive damages award of $500,000 allowed in part. The Court of Appeal upheld the finding of entitlement to punitive damages but reduced the punitive damages award to $60,000.

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. v. Brine, [2015] N.S.J. No. 486, November 17, 2015, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, J.E. Fichaud, L.L. Oland and J.E. Scanlan JJ.A.

Appeal court reduced punitive damages award against a disability insurer

Long term disability insurer's appeal of a punitive damages award of $500,000 allowed in part. The Court of Appeal upheld the finding of entitlement to punitive damages but reduced the punitive damages award to $60,000.

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. v. Brine, [2015] N.S.J. No. 486, November 17, 2015, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, J.E. Fichaud, L.L. Oland and J.E. Scanlan JJ.A.

Continue Reading...

An Insurer has no Duty to Investigate Accuracy of Information Provided by Insured

The insurer had no duty to investigate the information provided by the insured to unearth misrepresentations by the insured.  A broker was held liable for failing to make inquiries into whether an insured’s representative who completed the insurance applications had the necessary training or experience to do so and if not to discuss the benefits of property inspections with him. The insured was apportioned 50% liability for failing to ensure that its representatives handling the placement of insurance had sufficient knowledge of the properties to place coverage.

Grafton Connor Property Inc. (c.o.b. Grafton-Connor Group) v. Lloyd’s of London Underwriters, [2015] N.S.J. No. 270, June 30, 2015, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, A.J. LeBlanc J.

Continue Reading...

Widow's Application for Life Insurance Benefits Denied Because of Medical Misrepresentations

A widow’s application for life insurance benefits following the death of her husband, the insured, was denied because the insured had materially misrepresented his medical history in his application for life and disability insurance.

Linden Estate v. CUMIS Life Insurance Co., [2015] N.S.J. No. 83, March 3, 2015, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, J.W.S. Saunders, M.J. Hamilton and J.E. Fichaud JJ.A.

Continue Reading...

Coverage for a "Dwelling" Includes Coverage for a Floor Made of Dirt

Motion by the insured for a declaration of coverage. The insured owned half of a duplex with a dirt floor. The question was whether the policy covered the cost of remediating the dirt floor after it had been contaminated with oil. The court held that remediation was covered under the policy as the definition of “dwelling” included the floor, albeit one made of dirt.

Snow. v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Co. of Canada, [2015] N.S.J. No. 53, January 13, 2015, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, P.J. Murray J.

Continue Reading...

Soil that is contaminated by a heating oil spill is not insured property under a policy of property insurance. Further, the doctrine of imminent peril does not apply to the clean-up costs as the risk of oil vapours is not an imminent peril and damage is not inevitable.

Garden View Restaurant Ltd. v. Portage La Prairie Mutual Insurance Co., [2014] N.S.J. No. 675, December 22, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, M. Stewart J.

Continue Reading...

Contractual limitation period for making a claim against an excess motor vehicle insurer began to run from the time the insured had accumulated a body of evidence which would give him a reasonable chance of demonstrating that his claim exceeded the limits. Further, it was equitable in the circumstances that the insured was granted a four year extension for filing the claim.

Oliver v. Elite Insurance Co., [2014] N.S.J. No. 617, November 21, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, P.P. Rosinski J.

Continue Reading...

Confirmation of coverage benefits displayed on an online portal and a confirmation statement did not amount to a certificate of coverage so as to create a contractual relationship between the insured and the insurer in an employer group disability benefits plan. The insured had no chance of success in a claim for breach of contract against the insurer when erroneously high disability coverage was corrected due to an employer error.

Sorensen v. Investors Group Financial Services Inc., [2014] N.S.J. No. 610, November 11, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, P.L. Muise J.

Continue Reading...

What constitutes a claim for the purposes of the definition of “claim” under a policy of insurance is determined according to an objective test in light of the reality of what the third party communicated to the insured by words or conduct. This does not always require a specific threat of legal proceedings. In this case, a reasonable insured, in the context of the complaint, would have concluded that the complainant intended to hold the insured liable when he simply stated that the insured should cover his costs.

Hants Realty Ltd. v. Travelers Guarantee Co. of Canada [2014] N.S.J. No. 330, June 25, 2014, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, L.L. Oland, D.P.S. Farrar and P. Bryson JJ.A.

Continue Reading...

Significant aggravated and punitive damages were warranted due to the insurer’s breach of the duty of utmost good faith and the effect of that breach on the insured. The insurer breached the duty of utmost good faith where: it failed to fairly assess the need for rehabilitation services; it failed to disclose an IME relevant to the rehabilitation issue until days before trial; it failed to meaningfully address a decision of the Tax Court regarding the taxability of benefits; and the accuracy of one of its witnesses’ testimony wrongly favoured the insurer.

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. v. Brine [2014] N.S.J. No. 328, June 18, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, C.A. Bourgeois J.

Continue Reading...