THE GIVE-AND-TAKE (AWAY) OF INSURANCE: LOSING BENEFITS FOR FAILING TO FOLLOW THE RULES

Reprinted from the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta’s magazine – The Alberta Broker (August/September 2019)

The Case

In Greenidge v Allstate Insurance Company,[1] the insured, Jenine Greenidge (“Ms. Greenidge”), sued her insurer, Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”), after Allstate terminated Ms. Greenidge’s Section B accident benefits under Alberta’s Standard Automobile Policy SPF No. 1 (“SPF No. 1”).  Following a motor vehicle accident in which Ms. Greenidge suffered whiplash and temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”) injuries, Ms. Greenidge had made a claim under Section B of the SPF No. 1, and initially, Allstate made payments to Ms. Greenidge for her claim.  However, when Allstate requested that Ms.

Read more

Off-coverage positions and the timing of a breach of policy defence: Bradfield v. Royal Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, 2019 ONCA 800

On October 7, 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in the case involving Royal Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (“RSA”) and Jeffrey Bradfield. This decision is noteworthy as it may have the effect of decreasing an insurer’s burden to promptly investigate to determine coverage.

Facts

At all relevant times, RSA provided motorcycle insurance to Steven Devecseri (“SD”). In May 2006, SD was driving his motorcycle with Jeffrey Bradfield (“Bradfield”) and Paul Latanski (“Latanski”). SD guided the group onto the wrong side of the road where they collided with Jeremy Caton’s (“Caton”) automobile.

Read more

Importance of early due diligence and promptness: Analysis of the decision in Commonwell v Campbell, 2019 ONCA 668

Background

In April 2013, the respondent, Shayne Campbell, was involved in a dirt bike accident. He collided with an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), injuring the ATV driver. In April 2015, Mr. Campbell was sued for negligence.

Mr. Campbell’s automobile insurer, The Guarantee Company of North America (Guarantee), had Mr. Campbell sign a non-waiver agreement and issued a reservation of rights letter before ultimately denying coverage.

The appellant, Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group (Commonwell), held Mr. Campbell’s homeowner’s policy. In June 2015, without securing a non-waiver agreement or issuing a reservation of rights letter, Commonwell appointed a lawyer to defend the claim against Mr.

Read more

Cannabis exclusion in home insurance policies may not be effective when tenants’ grow-op causes loss

Despite the efforts of insurers to exclude coverage in habitational insurance policies for losses caused by cannabis cultivation or production, a recent Alberta case serves as a reminder that coverage may, nevertheless, apply where an insured’s tenant’s grow-op causes a loss.[1] This is due to the existence of so-called “innocent insured” provisions in the Insurance Acts of Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

Background

Home insurance policies have traditionally excluded coverage for losses caused by illegal activities. Many have also specifically excluded coverage for losses arising from illegal drug activity. With the Cannabis Act having come into force on October 17, 2018, Canadians may now legally cultivate up to four cannabis plants at a time in their dwelling-house.

Read more

Slip and fall liability: Policies for commercial occupiers

When an injury occurs on the property of a business, the business is frequently included as a defendant in the lawsuit. In the case of injuries relating to slip and falls, the business – as the commercial occupier of the premises – may be the only party named as a defendant. Accordingly, it is important for these organizations to take preventative steps to limit exposure to liability in these contexts.

Commercial occupiers’ liability

The Occupiers’ Liability Act, RSA 2000, c O-4 sets out the law in Alberta relating to the duty that an occupier of a premises owes to its visitors.

Read more

Court of Appeal for Ontario strongly affirms the modified causation test: Hunt v. Peel Mutual Insurance Company

Introduction

As discussed in our previous post,the fluctuating cost of automobile insurance and the extent to which insured persons can rely on insurance protection is partly dependant on how broadly the legislature defines or court interprets the risks of driving (i.e. the more risk an insurer is deemed to cover, the higher the cost to the insured).

Yet, when people experience tragedy, macroeconomic concerns understandably fall to the wayside. The court is routinely asked to stretch the limits of insurance coverage to protect or compensate a single claimant, potentially creating future uncertainty for both insurers and insured persons.  

In Hunt v.

Read more

Named insured and additional insured: Same policy, different coverage

In the recent decision, Sky Solar (Canada) Ltd. v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2019 ONSC 4165, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice undertook a comprehensive overview of three fundamental concepts of insurance law, namely, the scope of coverage, forfeiture and the duty of good faith.

This decision is of interest to insurers, as it clarifies the coverage language contained in Additional Insured Endorsements in the context of commercial general liability insurance. Furthermore, it provides clear demarcation between reasonable and improper conduct by insurers when assessing coverage.

Facts

Sky Solar (Canada) Ltd. (Sky Solar) is a developer of solar energy projects.

Read more