$25,000 damages awarded for mental distress.

On September 28, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision in McQueen v. Echelon General Insurance Co., [2009] O.J. No. 3965. The Court made a substantial award of mental distress damages against the insurer, Echelon, for denial of benefits in the amount of $25,000.00. BACKGROUND This case arose from a claim for statutory accident benefits and damages for breach of the insurer’s duty to act in good faith. The plaintiff sustained injuries in a rollover motor vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, she was unemployed and received benefits under the Ontario...

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Manulife bound by its own policy wording.

On August 17, 2009, The BC Supreme Court held that as between the limitation period in an insurance policy and the limitation period set out in Section 22(1) of the Insurance Act of British Columbia, the limitation period in the policy prevails so long as it is not shorter than that prescribed by Section 22(1). In Colgur v. Manufacturers Life Ins. Co., 2009 BCSC 1125, the insurance company, Manulife, applied for a dismissal of the Ms. Colgur’s claim for long-term disability .  Ms. Colgur was employed by the Royal Bank of Canada as a customer service representative. She developed laryngitis...

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$75,000 for moderate/severe PTSD.

On August 7, 2009, the BC Supreme Court awarded just over $320,000 in damages as a result of a serious BC Truck Accident. In Bonham v. Weir the plaintiff was driving a transport truck into Fort Nelson, BC, when another vehicle “crossed the centre line and collided head on with his truck. ”  The plaintiff’s truck “burst into flames and (the Plaintiff) had to crawl out of the burning cab through a broken windshield.” ICBC admitted fault on behalf of the driver of the other vehicle leaving the court to deal only with an assessment of damages. Mr. Justice Smith found that while the plaintiff’s...

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An exclusion clause is only valid if it is unambiguous.

On September 16, 2008 the Alberta Court of Appeal confirmed in Duke v. Clarica Life Insurance Co. 2008 ABCA 301 that an ambiguous term in a critical illness policy exclusion clause should be construed against the insurer. The insurance company had issued a critical illness policy to Mr. Duke. When Mr. Duke developed Parkinson’s disease, the insurance company denied his claim, relying on an exclusion clause which stated: “if the insured person had a covered critical illness or any symptoms associated with a covered critical illness before the date the Policy came into...

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“Bully” Manulife to pay $250,000 punitive damages.

On December 14, 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld an order that The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”) pay $250,000 in punitive damages.

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Mental distress damages flow from a breach of the policy.

The Supreme Court of Canada set aside an award of punitive damages of $100,000 against a disability insurer (“Sun Life”), but upheld an award of $20,000 in aggravated damages for mental distress for breach of contract. Fidler worked as a bank receptionist and was covered by a group policy that included long-term disability benefits. At the age of 36, she became ill and was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia and began receiving long-term disability benefits in January 1991. Under the terms of the policy, Fidler was entitled to continued benefits...

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