In order to deny first party benefits under an insurance policy on the basis that the insured attempted to commit suicide, the insurer must overcome the common law presumption against the commission of suicide. Overcoming this presumption requires the insurer to establish, with clear and unequivocal evidence, that the insured committed or attempted to commit suicide.

Huber (Guardian ad litem of) v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, [2004] B.C.J. No. 903, British Columbia Supreme Court

Laforme was involved in a single motor vehicle accident while driving his girlfriend’s uninsured motor vehicle. Laforme’s action seeking a declaration of entitlement to statutory accident benefits against the insurer of his father’s motor vehicle (“Wabisa”) was dismissed because the court found that Laforme was not a dependent of his father at the time of the accident.

28. April 2004 0
Laforme v. Wabisa Mutual Fire Insurance Co., [2004] O.J. No. 2025 Ontario Superior Court of Justice

This was an Appeal by the third party Pizza Nova of the dismissal of its motion for summary judgment. The Plaintiff Freudmann and Defendant Tran were in an MVA. Freudmann was injured. Tran was underinsured. Freudmann asserted a claim under her underinsured motorist protection against her insurer, Zurich. Zurich learned that Tran was delivering pizza at the time of the accident for Pizza Nova, and issued a third party claim against Pizza Nova. Pizza Nova sought to have the third party claim dismissed on the basis that Zurich’s only claim against it was subrogated and therefore must be brought in the name of the insured. The motions court held that the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure allowing third party actions by any Defendant against any party who “may be liable … for all or part of the claim” and the Rule was sufficient to allow the third party action. The Appeal court agreed that the Rule was sufficient to override the normal subrogation principle that would prevent an insurer from suing in its own name. The appeal was dismissed.

26. April 2004 0
Freudmann-Cohen v. Tran, [2004] O.J. No. 1699 Ontario Court of Appeal

This is an interlocutory decision relating to a claim for a loss due to flooding. The Plaintiff is the adult son of the named insured. The Defendant insurer brought an Application to strike the Plaintiff’s claim on the basis that he had no privity to the insurance contract. The Plaintiff brought a cross-Application for a declaration that he can continue the action in his own name, or for an order allowing him to amend his pleadings to substitute his father. The court denied the Application to strike, denied the Plaintiff’s right to continue the action in his own name, and allowed the amendment despite its being brought out of time under a statutory limitation period.

19. April 2004 0
Fenrich v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co., [2004] A.J. No. 458, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench

This is an appeal by an insurer from a judgment in a Special Case. The trial judge declared that Part 3 of the Insurance Act prohibits provisions regarding a limitation period in a group life insurance and long-term disability policy, and allowed the Plaintiff’s claim for long-term disability benefits brought outside the limitation in the policy. The Appeal court reversed, holding that the contract was for life insurance and was bound by the appropriate statutory limitation period and therefore the claim was statute barred.

19. April 2004 0
Gumpp v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co., [2004] B.C.J. No. 742, British Columbia Court of Appeal

The Plaintiff (“Stevens”), in an action seeking entitlement to long-term disability benefits, brought an application for production of documents and information relating to his allegations of bad faith against the disability insurer (“Sun Life”). The court held that the contract claim relating to benefits should be severed from the bad faith claim, with the contract claim to be determined first.

06. April 2004 0
Stevens v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, [2004] B.C.J. No. 661, British Columbia Supreme Court