By Jordan Watson and Nigel Kent
Historically, nasty things happen in the middle of March and this year is no exception. On March 21 and 22, 2013, respectively:
- The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench hammered American Home Assurance and Zurich Life Insurance with aggregate punitive damages of $4.5 million for bad faith claims handling and aggravated damages of $450,000; and
- Penncorp Life Insurance got hit by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice with aggravated damages of $100,000 and punitive bad faith damages of $200,000.
Possibly worse still for the insurance industry is a November 2012 decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which has recognized the possibility of an award of non-punitive damages against insurers who breach their duty of good faith to insureds.