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.

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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.

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Case Comment: Condo. Corp No. 0427067 v. Aviva Canada Inc., 2019 ABQB 678

Introduction

A new decision from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench provides a caution to insureds to double check the accuracy of a denial of coverage. Failure to investigate a denial made in error may mean a plaintiff is out of luck if it tries to bring a claim after the expiry of two years from the date of denial.

The Plaintiff Condominium Corporation (Condo Corp) brought a claim arising from the denial of a claim for water damage to a condominium known as the Palisades Park Villas in Edmonton (Property). In this case, the various insurers, who were subscribers to the Condo Corp’s policy of insurance, applied for summary dismissal of the claim on the basis that it was brought after the limitation period expired.

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Penny wise, pound foolish: Necessity of getting cyber insurance

Introduction

As cybersecurity attacks and data breaches have become increasingly prominent and costly, it is essential that organizations have the proper policies and procedures to protect themselves against significant financial and reputational harm. However, these attacks and breaches cannot be eliminated entirely, even with the most robust security safeguards. Therefore, cybersecurity insurance can act as a last line of defense by protecting an organization from significant financial harm when a breach ultimately occurs. Effectively, businesses can use cybersecurity insurance as part of a holistic approach to managing cybersecurity attacks and data breaches. This article will discuss the importance of cyber insurance policies by providing an overview of the serious threats organizations commonly face today, what cybersecurity insurance is and what it offers, and the limitations of cybersecurity insurance policies.

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The Injured & The Restless: Principles of Contractual Interpretation Leave Insured With an Uphill Battle for Mattress Coverage

This article has been republished with permission by The Alberta Broker Magazine.

Interpreting Contracts

The general principles of contractual interpretation require a decision-maker to read the contract before them as a whole, giving the words used their ordinary and grammatical meaning, in a manner consistent with the surrounding circumstances known to the parties at the time of formation of the contract.  While remaining faithful to the actual language of a contract and without deviating from those words, the decision-maker may consider surrounding circumstances (often called the “factual matrix”) to aid in contractual interpretation.

Standard Form Contracts Are Unique

These principles are set out by the Supreme Court of Canada (the “Supreme Court”) in Creston Moly Corp v Sattva Capital Corp,1 and they apply broadly.  However, subsequent to Sattva, courts disagreed on whether the interpretive principles articulated in that decision also applied to standard form contracts—some appellate courts said they did, some said they did not.  As a result, two years later, the Supreme Court clarified in Ledcor Construction Ltd v Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co2 that standard form contracts (e.g.

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Notice requirements for professional liability insurance: Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company of Canada v. Duncan, 2019 NSCA 54

On June 18, 2019, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal released its decision in the case involving Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company of Canada (Trisura) and Duncan et al. This decision is noteworthy, as it may lessen an insured’s obligation to notify and disclose potential claims, and increase the burden of diligence on the insurer.

Facts

Trisura provided professional liability coverage to Keybase National Financial Services Inc. (Keybase) from July 2008 to July 2012. Gregory Duncan and James White (Duncan and White) were Keybase advisors during this time.

Duncan and White assumed responsibility for John Allen’s (Allen) clients. Allen was also a Keybase advisor.

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Ontario’s loss transfer scheme and extraterritorial application

Canadian provinces have no legislative competence to regulate automobile insurance beyond their own borders. Nevertheless, tractor-trailers rumble across the country to deliver goods, families pack into hatchback sedans to vacation in distant destinations, and business teams disembark airports into rental cars to attend their next meeting. Borders are ever-increasingly transient.

In this globalized context, it is important for Ontario insurers to understand their exposure both within the heartland province and beyond. This article briefly considers Ontario’s loss transfer scheme as it applies to accidents outside of Ontario.

The no-fault scheme

Ontario’s current loss transfer scheme is a legislative response to “no-fault” automobile insurance.

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