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.

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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.

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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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