Pleading That 90% of Ontario Motorists Have Only $1M in Coverage was Struck

In action by injured driver against his insurance broker, a pleading in the statement of defence that 90% of Ontario motorists have only $1,000,000 in third party liability/family endorsement coverage was struck on the basis that it did not assist the trier of fact in determining what this plaintiff did and whether he was offered more insurance coverage.

Trottier v. Beauchamp, [2013] O.J. No. 2379, May 24, 2013, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, L.L. Gauthier J.

The plaintiff sued the defendant insurance brokers for professional negligence. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident. The third party liability limit of the other driver was only $3,000,000. The plaintiff had an endorsement in his policy which provided an additional $1,000,000 coverage.

The plaintiff argued that during the six years following his initial purchase of his insurance policy, his income had increased considerably but his agent never recommended that he increase his third party liability limits and his family protection coverage. The defendants claimed that increased coverage had been offered several times but he did not purchase additional insurance in an effort to keep his insurance costs down.

The plaintiff brought a motion to strike two paragraphs of the brokers’ statement of defence. These paragraphs pled that over 90% of motorists in Ontario have only $1,000,000 in third party liability/family endorsement coverage.

The court held that the offending paragraphs should be struck because the purchasing pattern of Ontario motorists does not help the trier of fact determine what this particular motorist did. Additionally, the statistic does not refer to whether or not the motorists who opted for lower insurance coverage were nevertheless advised of their options by their insurance brokers, which was at the heart of the matter in question.

This case was digested by Cameron B. Elder and edited by David W. Pilley of Harper Grey LLP.

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