Doctrine of unjust enrichment may deprive named beneficiaries of life insurance proceeds

Designated beneficiaries of a life insurance policy have traditionally been entitled to a high degree of certainty that they would be entitled to the policy proceeds upon the death of the insured. This certainty has been jeopardized in a recent Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision, Moore v Sweet, 2018 SCC 52.

The facts

Michelle Moore (“Michelle”) continued to pay the premiums of a life insurance policy on the death of her ex-husband (the “Policy”), Lawrence Moore (“Lawrence”), after the couple separated. This was in accordance with an oral agreement between Michelle and Lawrence. In exchange, Michelle would be entitled to the Policy proceeds upon Lawrence’s death.

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Covenants to insure can bar action against other named insureds

In a short decision, Jacobs v. Leboeuf Properties Inc., 2018 ONSC 4795, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed an Owner’s claim against a General Contractor on the basis that the Owner’s contractual obligation to obtain insurance for the project and include the General Contractor as named insured (the covenant to insure) relieved the General Contractor from liability for faulty workmanship.

The Owner alleged that the General Contractor negligently, and in breach of the contract between the parties, performed work that caused damage to project property. The Owner sought to recover from the General Contractor the cost to correct and complete the allegedly negligent work.

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When cyber fraud strikes: Delineating coverage if employees are duped

The growth and sophistication of modern fraud and cyber security attacks has necessitated adaptable countermeasures by for-profit and non-profit organizations alike.

Of these countermeasures, the emergence of niche cyber crime/fraud insurance (e.g. cyber liability insurance) has given credence to the ethos that such attacks are not a matter of “if” but “when”. [1] One of the benefits of these forms of insurance is anticipating the pernicious reality of the causes of cyberattacks: vulnerabilities may arise from factors internal to an organization, as much as threats external to it. However, such policies similar to all insurance policies are not without their limits.

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Apportionment of liability under the workers’ compensation scheme in Alberta

McIver v. McIntyre, 2018 ABCA 151 examined the apportionment of liability for damages between multiple defendants where at least one of them is statutorily immune from liability.

The facts

The Defendant, Carlyle McIntyre (McIntyre), took his vehicle into Calgary Propane and Automotive (Calgary Propane) for repairs. A Calgary Propane employee, Lewis Morgan (Morgan), took the vehicle out for a test drive and collided with a vehicle driven by Brent McIver (McIver), causing McIver injuries. Both Morgan and McIver were driving in the course of their employment, but at trial, Morgan’s negligence was found to have caused the collision.

McIver obtained benefits from the Workers’ Compensation scheme under the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Act, RSA 2000, c W-15 (WCA), and the Workers’ Compensation Board (“WCB”) sued McIntyre on the basis that McIntyre was vicariously liable for McIver’s loss as owner of the vehicle under s.

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Ontario Court hits the brakes on duties owed to intoxicated plaintiffs

The expansion of recognized duties of care owed to intoxicated persons recently met resistance from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In Stewart et al. v. The Corporation of the Township of Douro-Dummer, 2018 ONSC 4009, the Plaintiff was one of four passengers in a taxi cab who was intoxicated and injured after the cab was involved in an accident. The cab driver was not at fault in the actual accident. The Plaintiff did not have his seat belt buckled up at the time of the accident, which resulted in more serious injuries. By the time the action got to trial, the only issue was whether the driver owed the Plaintiff a duty of care to ensure his seat belt was buckled on the basis that it was apparent to the driver that the Plaintiff was intoxicated and, therefore, vulnerable and unable to look after himself. Read more

When a cancellation isn’t a cancellation: Cancelling an insurance policy under the Alberta Insurance Act

When it comes to cancelling an insurance policy, both insurers and insureds need to complete the mandated steps; otherwise, they could potentially face a dispute as to whether or not coverage should occur.

The recent decision from Justice Warren of the British Columbia Supreme Court in McBrien v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2018 BCSC 553 reinforces the need for attention to all the details when it comes to cancelling an insurance policy.

The facts

On June 30, 2007, the plaintiffs in the action were injured in a single vehicle car accident that occurred in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Both plaintiffs were owners named in an owner’s certificate issued by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), which entitled them to third-party liability coverage under the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, BC Reg.

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A reminder from the BC Supreme Court that in the absence of ambiguity, courts will give effect to the ordinary meaning of insurance policy language

In a recent decision, Surespan Structures Ltd. v. Lloyd’s Underwriters, 2018 BCSC 1058, the British Columbia Supreme Court (the “Court”) had to determine whether a Design-Builder and an Engineer were “Insureds” for the purposes of a project-specific professional liability insurance policy. This is an important decision for insurers, insureds and professionals providing coverage advice, as the Court provided a comprehensive and detailed summary of the law on the interpretation of insurance policy contracts.

Background

The Design-Builder and Engineer sought a declaration that they were Insureds under a project-specific professional liability insurance policy that had been obtained by a third party, the Registered Professional of Record for the Project.

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