Insurers must “avoid” obscure terms.

On April 20, 2017, Mr. Justice Kent of the BC Supreme Court ruled that vehicle damage arising from a lessee’s arson does not fall within the “conversion exclusion” clause in an ICBC Autoplan Optional Policy, and an innocent lessor may be entitled to coverage.  CIT Financial Ltd. v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2017 BCSC 641, involved a coverage dispute for the alleged arson of a leased vehicle. The Court was asked to interpret the insured plaintiff’s insurance policy and, in particular, whether coverage for the fire damage to the vehicle was excluded...

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2nd defence medical exam denied.

On March 23, 2017,  the Supreme Court of BC denied the defence request for an medical examination by a vocational psychologist due to the fact that the defence had a previous medical examination by a defence psychiatrist (from whom they had no ordered a report). In Baxter v. Shelton, 2017 BCSC 953, Master Keighley wrote: [6]             …counsel for the defence determined to have a vocational rehabilitation assessment done and scheduled an appointment for March 24, 2017, before Dr. Colleen Quee Newell,...

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Insurer irrelevant testing denied by court.

On December 16, 2016, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed an application by an insurance company for an order compelling a disabled worker to undergo neuropsychological testing. The judge in Woolsey v. Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc., [2016] O.J. No. 6497, 2016 ONSC 7617, found that neuropsychological or cognitive function had not been put at issue and no treatment providers or experts had recommended it. The claimant was a disabled employee who alleged that he was unable to work as an engineering analyst due to neuropathic chest pain...

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“Reprehensible conduct” not required for special costs.

On January 19, 2017, the BC Supreme Court ordered a long-term disability insurer to pay indemnificatory costs of a trial, after finding that it wrongly denied Noha Tanious her disability benefits. Ms. Tanious, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, obtained an order requiring the insurance company to pay her long-term disability benefits under a disability policy.  At trial, the Court accepted that Ms. Tanious suffered a disability and had been unable to work since 2011.  Ms. Tanious then brought an application seeking solicitor-client costs for the action. In allowing the costs award, the...

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Punitive damages for failure to pay claim promptly.

On January 16, 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice assessed punitive damages against an insurance company for its failure to pay a property claim in timely fashion in  J.I.L.M. Enterprises & Investments Ltd. v. INTACT Insurance, 2017 ONSC 357. The insured brought an action for damages against its property insurer with respect to a fire which partially destroyed the insured’s hotel and restaurant building. No payment was made under the policy until almost three years after the fire. The insurer paid its calculation of the actual cash value of the building and one year later paid...

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