List of Vehicles Under Fleet Policy is not an “Amendment” to Insurance Policy

24. February 2014 0

The schedule or list of vehicles required under a fleet policy is not an “amendment” to an insurance policy. Relief from forfeiture relates to a proof of loss and is not an available remedy unless coverage has first been established.

Northbridge General Insurance Corp. v. 943240 Alberta Ltd., [2013] A.J. No. 1453, December 31, 2013, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, J.T. McCarthy J.

The insured sought coverage under a policy with an endorsement providing coverage for fleet vehicles for a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred in Alberta and involved an employee and a vehicle registered to the insured. The endorsement provided broad coverage to all automobiles licenced or required to be licensed in Alberta. The endorsement required the insured to submit a list of vehicles owned or leased by it prior to the start of the policy period. The policy expressly excluded coverage for any automobile owned or leased by the insured prior to the date of the policy that had not been listed. The vehicle at issue was owned by the insured prior to the start of the policy but was not disclosed to the insurer as required under the endorsement.

The insured argued that the insurer breached its obligation under s. 612(3) of the Insurance Act by not providing an updated copy of the policy with any amendments. The insured argued the list of vehicles was an “amendment” to the insurance contract. The court held the list of vehicles required under the policy did not fit within the definition of an “amendment” to the policy, rather it was a component of the policy used to set and adjust premiums. The insurer’s obligation under s. 612(3) of the Insurance Act to provide an updated policy including any amendment to the contract was not triggered.

A plain reading of the endorsement established that the pre-owned and undisclosed truck was not covered under the policy. The court did not undertake any significant coverage analysis.

Relief from forfeiture under s. 521 of the Insurance Act or at equity was not available to the insured. Relief from forfeiture under the statute was not available as the statute only provided relief in relation to imperfect compliance with a term relating to proof of loss. The imperfect compliance at issue was in relation to proof of coverage. The court also held the equitable remedy for relief from forfeiture was only available when coverage had already been established.

This case was digested by Djuna M. Field and edited by David W. Pilley of Harper Grey LLP.

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