Bad faith claim leads to broad disclosure obligations.

Shirley Wade suffered injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident in 2005. In 2008, her insurer, the  Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, stopped paying her disability benefits. Wade started  a lawsuit for breach of contract and bad faith against Wawanesa. During the discovery of Wawanesa’s representative on the bad faith claim, counsel for Wawanesa refused four requests for information, as follows: 1. During the 5 years before Wawanesa terminated Wade’s benefits, provide the number of policy holders who received income replacement benefits like Wade, provide the average length of time...

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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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Parties to a contract must be honest with each other.

In Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71, the Supreme Court clearly stated that there is a duty to be honest in the performance of a contract. Mr. Bhasin, started an action after his relationship with Canadian American Financial Corp. (“Can-Am”) soured. Ultimately, Can-Am refused to renew the dealership agreement it had with Mr. Bhasin. Mr. Bhasin had acted as an enrollment director for Can-Am, which was in the business of marking education savings plans to investors (“ESPs”). Like all other enrollment directors associated with Can-Am, Mr. Bhasin acted like a small...

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Delaying LTD benefits may be bad faith.

On September 17, 2014, the British Columbia Supreme Court refused to summarily dismiss an insured’s claim against the insurer and adjuster for breach of contract and the duty of fairness and good faith; however, the insured’s claims against the adjuster for inducement of breach of contract and interference with contractual relations were dismissed. In Frank v. Kalokina, 2014 BCSC 1866, the insured’s application for long-term disability benefits was denied by the adjuster for five months after the time of her claim. The insured alleges that in denying her claim, the adjuster and the insurer...

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Punitive damages for denied LTD benefits upheld on appeal.

On March 22, 2013, an Ontario judge ordered an insurer to pay $100,000 in aggravated damages and $200,000 in punitive damages after finding that the insurer had wrongfully denied its insured long-term disability benefits. In Fernandes v. Penncorp, 2013 ONSC 1637, the Honourable Justice Peter Hambly ordered Penncord Life Insurance Company to pay the damages to an injured employee. Facts The facts of the case are rather straightforward. The plaintiff was a bricklayer who had his own company. That company was profitable and had employees. When the plaintiff got injured and was unable to work...

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Did Manulife make “deliberately false” statements?

On January 16, 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice rejected an application by Manulife Financial to dismiss the action against it in Sells v. Manulife, 2014 ONSC 715. The judgment is found at: Sells v Manulife, 2014 ONSC 715. The plaintiffs in this action are former agents of Manulife. Their essential claim for their damages against Manulife is that Manulife made very serious but false and misleading statements regarding the plaintiffs’ work and practices while with Manulife which Manulife knew or ought to have known would make it impossible for the plaintiffs to obtain new...

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