This is an Alberta automobile insurer’s appeal of a BC Supreme Court ruling on a petition. At issue was an accident in BC in which an Alberta resident was a passenger. The passenger required underinsured motorist protection (UMP) coverage to satisfy her claim. Both the driver’s insurer, ICBC, and the passenger’s own Alberta insurer, Royal Sun & Alliance, provided UMP coverage, but both policies purported to provide excess coverage only. On the petition both pointed to the other insurer as the primary payor. The lower Court held that Royal was the primary insurer, and the Appeal Court upheld the finding that Royal was precluded by BC legislation from enforcing terms different from those mandated under BC’s statutory scheme.

17. December 2004 0
Park v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, [2004] B.C.J. No. 2632, British Columbia Court of Appeal

Pursuant to s. 132 of the Insurance Act, the plaintiff successfully recovered from the defendant insurer of a bankrupt insured damages that arose when the riding arena the insured was hired to construct at the plaintiff’s farm collapsed. Despite the fact that the plaintiff was not a party to the contract of insurance, there was no distinction between the reasonable expectation of the plaintiff and the reasonable expectation of the insured that there would be coverage for the damage claimed.

15. December 2004 0
Amondsen v. General Accident Assurance Co., [2004] O.J. No. 5633, Ontario Superior Court of Justice

The trial judge dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident because both the insured and the driver had previously signed an endorsement acknowledging that the defendant insurer would not provide coverage while the driver involved in the accident drove any vehicles covered under the policy. There is no ongoing obligation on the insurer to continue to remind an insured after an endorsement excluding certain drivers has been signed but before additional vehicles have been added to the policy, that the excluded driver endorsement remains in effect.

14. December 2004 0
Hunter v. Economical Insurance Group, [2004] O.J. No. 5262, Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Halpern Investments Ltd. (“Halpern Investments”) was unsuccessful in obtaining an order that it was covered for damages resulting from fire where it was admitted that the principal of Halpern Investments (“Halpern”) had previously submitted a fraudulent proof of loss relating to the same fire on behalf of a co-insured company (“Regal”). The court found that Halpern was the guiding hand behind both Halpern Investments and Regal and that his fraudulent conduct warranted piercing the corporate veil to ensure that Halpern did not benefit from such conduct.

29. November 2004 0
Halpern Investments Ltd. v. Sovereign General Insurance Co., [2004] A.J. No. 1376, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench

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 misrepresent his status to the insurer.

23. November 2004 0
Metcalfe v. Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., [2004] B.C.J. No. 2415, British Columbia Supreme Court

An operator of an elementary school (“Palliser”) was successful in obtaining an order that its insurer (“Aviva”) was obligated to defend it with respect to claims brought by neighbours of Palliser which alleged that coal dust transported by wind from Palliser’s property was damaging their homes. The court held that the Pollution Exclusion in the policy did not apply to these claims as blowing coal dust failed the common sense test for “pollution” which was intended or expected to be excluded from coverage.

23. November 2004 0
Palliser Regional School Division No. 26 v. Aviva Scottish & York Insurance Co., [2004] A.J. No. 1356, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench

This was the trial of a plaintiff/insured’s claim against his automobile insurer solely based on an allegation of bad faith. The issue was whether the insurer was liable to the insured for punitive, intangible, and aggravated damages where the insurer had paid out all coverages under the policy. The Court held that there was a breach of the duty of good faith, and regardless of whether the insurance claims were ultimately satisfied the plaintiff’s damages were compensable. The Court refused to award punitive damages, but awarded nominal damages for intangible and aggravated losses. The Court rejected the argument of the insurer, based on previous case law, that a plaintiff must have a successful action for some specific coverage under the policy before an action can succeed for bad faith.

22. November 2004 0
Baudisch v. Co-operators General Insurance Co., [2004] A.J. No. 1456, Alberta Provincial Court

An insured under a homeowner’s policy (“Revivo”) was successful in obtaining an order that his insurer (“State Farm”) was obligated to defend an action against Revivo arising from a fire started while he was working on a “parts car” while completing a kit car. The court held that the exclusion clause in the policy relating to ownership, use or operation of a motor vehicle was inapplicable where neither the parts car nor the kit car was useable or operable as an automobile.

18. November 2004 0
Meadowview Heights Ltd. v. Revivo, [2004] O.J. No. 4742, Ontario Superior Court of Justice