Consultant does not owe duty to the plaintiffs who are adverse in interest to the insurer

10. January 2017 0

Consultant retained by insurance adjuster’s firm did not owe a duty of care to the insured.

3746292 Manitoba Ltd. v. Intact Insurance Co.[2016] M.J. No. 315, 2016 MBQB 210, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, November 7, 2016, R.A. Dewar J.

An insured and an insurer reached a settlement following a fire loss.  After settlement the insured brought a claim against the insurer alleging breach of the insured’s duty of good faith and against a consultant employed by an adjusting firm retained by the insurer to assess the fire loss sustained by the insured.

The insurer moved for summary judgment on the basis of a release contained in the proof of loss upon which the settlement was based.  The court dismissed this motion on the basis that the issue of whether the release covered a claim for breach of a duty of good faith was better left for trial when the circumstances surrounding the execution of the release could properly be assessed.

The consultant also brought a motion for summary judgment on the basis that it did not owe the insured a duty of care.  The court accepted this argument on the basis that the consultant was retained by the adjuster to compile information to be used by the adjuster in its negotiation of the fire loss.  The court distinguished those cases in which an adjuster has been found to owe a duty of care to an insured.

This case was digested by Cameron B. Elder and edited by David W. Pilley of Harper Grey LLP.  If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact them directly at celder@harpergrey.com or dpilley@harpergrey.com or review their biographies at http://www.harpergrey.com.