No duty to investigate information from insured.

On June 30, 2015, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court held that an insurer has 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...

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ICBC may use private investigators.

If your ICBC claim is viewed as a “large exposure” for ICBC or if the claim is getting close to going to trial, ICBC will often times hire an independent investigator to review your life history and background. This is, of course, a tremendous invasion of your privacy but ICBC has the right to proceed with this investigation. Often, the investigators will do a neighbourhood canvass. This involves knocking on your neighbours’ doors hoping to find out some piece of helpful information about you (eg. that you are doing some home renovations, yard work or sporting activities). ICBC often tries...

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Appeal Court reduces punitive damages for bad faith.

On June 19, 2015, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal reduced awards of extra-contractual damages made on March 21, 2013. The trial decision of a Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench assessed punitive damages totalling $5,000,000 against two insurers in a recent trial decision, Branco v. American Home Assurance et. al., 2013 SKQB 98. In rendering a decision in which he found the insurers’ treatment of the insured to be “calculated and abhorrent”, Justice Acton sent a message to all insurers doing business in Canada: “It is hoped that this award will gain the attention of the...

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$75,000 For chronic back pain.

In Renaerts v. Renaerts, 2015 BCSC 1028, a 24 year old plaintiff was injured as a passenger in a 2009 collision. She sustained a variety of injuries that made a quick recovery but also sustained a back injury which remained symptomatic to the time of trial and had a generally guarded prognosis. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Mr. Justice Brown provided the following reasons: [215] Given accepted evidence as a whole, I agree with Mr. Shew that rehabilitation should focus on healthy activity, core strengthening, and a guided exercise program. I do not see this form of therapy...

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Judge: ICBC’s expert “careless” if not “deceptive”.

In Hendry v. Ellis, 2015 BCSC 1186,  the plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages. The defendant’s insurer retained a doctor who minimized the connection between the plaintiff’s complaints and the collision. At trial, through cross examination, the doctor made various admissions beyond the borders of the opinion contained in the report. In criticizing the physician’s opinion as “careless” if not outright “deceptive” Mr. Justice Jenkins provided the following reasons: [26] Expert evidence tendered at trial was that the duration of soft tissue pain is considered to be 12...

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