Claims administrator may owe a duty of good faith.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s bench held that where an insurer acts as a claims administration service only but makes decisions regarding the adjudication of claims, computation and issuance of benefits it owes a duty to the insured to act in good faith as it was adjudicating claims and benefits. As such, the traditional tort of intentional procurement of breach of contract is broad enough to capture bad faith actions by an adjuster that bring about the rejection of a meritorious claim for insurance benefits. In LeBlanc v. Atlantic Blue Cross Care, [2011] N.B.J. No. 446 (December...

read more

$550,000 punitive damages for Ontario employee.

An Ontario court came down hard on an employer that attempted to terminate an employee for cause without sufficient justification for doing so. The termination and the employer’s actions related to the termination resulted in a criminal trial and a chain of events that led to the destruction of the employee’s reputation, and, accordingly to the employee, his marriage. The trial judge initially awarded the employee $25,000 in punitive damages and aggravated damages of $75,000. The employee appealed the punitive damages award and a new trial was ordered. The trial judge then...

read more

$50,000 punitive damages for refusing to pay a fire loss.

On August 17, 2011, the insureds successfully sued their insurer in the British Columbia Supreme Court for losses suffered in a fire, as well as aggravated and punitive damages for the insurer’s refusal to pay, in Sidhu v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. In the early hours of February 7, 2005, the Sidhu’s family home was damaged by a fire. The plaintiff, Hardip Sidhu, was in the master bedroom with his wife and infant son before the fire started. He asked them to leave shortly before he heard something hit the bedroom window. He got dressed and looked around. His wife also looked outside...

read more

“Failure to follow up” by insurer may be punished.

On May 4, 2010, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal held in Kings Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ackermann, that by not following up on all the evidence relevant to the claim, withholding critical information from the adjuster engaged to investigate the claim and allowing the adjuster to present the results of the investigation in a partisan, biased and un-objective manner, the insurer’s actions were such that an award of punitive damages was rationally required to punish the insurer’s conduct. The insureds were insured for damage to their dairy barn for the peril of a “windstorm”,...

read more

$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...

read more

“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.

read more