“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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Manulife wrong to deny disability benefits for chronic fatigue.

On November 28, 2005 the BC Supreme Court decided that The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”) was wrong to deny long term disability benefits to a woman suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The case was called Milner v. Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, 2005 BCSC 1661. In September 2001, Cindy Milner, age 45, was hired as a manager at a residential care facility for the elderly. She was responsible for managing nurses, care aids and related staff and ensuring that the facility had all the necessary supplies. In late October, she contracted pneumonia and was...

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Manulife’s conduct costs UBC punitive damages.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld an award of $150,000 in punitive damages and $35,000 in aggravated damages against the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Asselstine v. Manulife and UBC, 2005 BCCA 292. The decision sends a strong message to insurers and raises questions about the relationship between employers and third parties hired to administer benefit plans. This case concerned a registered nurse who had been employed by UBC for several years. In March 1997, she was diagnosed as suffering from multiple sclerosis. She took six weeks of sick leave and then returned to...

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Failing to disclose prior drug use is not fraud.

On November 23, 2004, the BC Supreme Court found against Manulife Financial, and ordered it to pay death benefits to a widow, in Metcalfe v Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, 2004 BCSC 1526. An insured (“Mr. Metcalfe”), who died of a drug overdose, had purchased a life insurance policy seven years before his death. Although he did not disclose to the life insurance company that he had been in a drug treatment program for cocaine and heroin use three years before obtaining the policy, the life insurance policy was determined to be valid, because the insured did not fraudulently...

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Manulife ordered to pay death benefits and 2X costs.

On March 19, 2002, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ordered Manulife to pay benefits under an accidental death policy, and to pay double costs to the plaintiff in McCoy v Manulife, 2002 ABQB 298. The plaintiff’s brother, Ward McCoy, was covered through his employment by a policy of life insurance and accidental death insurance provided by Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. The plaintiff, Keith McCoy, was the beneficiary of the policy. The brother died on the 23rd of June, 1997. He had been drinking over a three-day period. Twelve hours after he stopped drinking he suffered cardiac...

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