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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Absolute pollution exclusion in commercial general liability policy precluded coverage for a claim arising from a spill of home heating oil.

Breton Petroleum Ltd. v. Aviva Insurance Co. of Canada, [2014] N.S.J. No. 298, June 16, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, K. Coady J.

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Insured found to have made material misrepresentations during his application for a life and disability policy.

Linden Estate v. CUMIS Life Insurance Co., [2014] N.S.J. No. 153, April 4, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, D. Boudreau J.

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The plaintiff commenced an action against the defendant's insurer on the basis the plainitff's damaged goods were insured by the defendant's insurer as if they were the property of the defendant. The Court concluded the goods were not insured. The defendant had not agreed to arrange insurance for the goods and the plaintiff was not an unnamed beneficiary under the policy.

Merex Inc. v. Stoney Island Fisheries Ltd., [2014] N.S.J. No. 79, February 21, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, J.D. Murphy J.

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Application on the issue of whether the insurer had a duty to defend the insured in legal proceedings alleging damages caused by defective work. The insured’s plumbing work was completed while the insurance policy was valid. Years later, the plumbing system failed and caused damage. The insurer argued the pleadings did not allege facts showing that an occurrence causing damage took place before the expiry of the policy and in the alternative, the damage was excluded from coverage as a result of the "your work" exclusion. The insurer's application was dismissed because there was an occurrence during the policy period and the insurer could not demonstrate that the exclusion clause clearly applied.

Co-operators General Insurance Co. v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co., [2014] N.S.J. No. 111, January 27, 2014, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, M.J. Wood J.

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Disability insurer's decision to void a policy on the basis of material misrepresentations with respect to the insured's health on his application for insurance was upheld on appeal.

Walsh v. Unum Provident, [2013] N.S.J. No. 582, November 8, 2013, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, M. MacDonald C.J.N.S., J.W.S. Saunders and J.E. Fichaud JJ.A.

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