Year-end portrait 2022 — Insurance Law

Profile of Rachel Clément

Rachel Clément is a partner, and co-chair of our Insurance Law Group.

In addition to conducting her practice and ensuring the group’s leadership, she plays a key role in managing our client relationships, especially with major clients in Quebec and Ontario as well as in London.

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Application of Quebec’s Automobile Insurance Act: New Rulings From the Court of Appeal

This paper was written under a partnership with the Montreal Association of Insurance Women.

Quebec’s Automobile Insurance Act, CQLR c A-25 [Act], is the object of abundant jurisprudence. The courts are frequently called upon to determine the field of application of the State regime, the object of which is to facilitate prompt compensation of the victim, but which is also sometimes raised by the third party responsible for a damage.

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A Reminder of the Basic Differences Between a Builder’s Risk Policy and a Liability Policy

In the recent case of Bridor inc. c. 90784497 Québec inc., 2022 QCCS 2496, the Superior Court ruled on the fundamental distinctions between a Builder’s Risk policy and a liability insurance policy.

Bridor inc. [Bridor] had retained the services of Construction Milkado [Mikado] as a construction manager to oversee the expansion of its plant. In the main claim, Bridor alleged that Mikado had committed three faults in its management of the construction, one of which consisted of damages caused to architectural panels that made up the outside walls of the expansion. The project and the parties were insured under two policies issued by Starr Insurance & Reinsurance Limited [Starr]: a Wrap-Up liability insurance policy and a Builder’s Risk insurance policy.

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Upcoming Insurance Coverage Dispute Deadlines for COVID-19 Claims

As companies continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their businesses and the consequential loss of income suffered as a result of interruptions and/or shutdowns to their operations, policyholders should be aware of a number of key factors that could affect its ability to bring suit against its insurer.

Suit Limitation Clauses

An important stipulation within first-party policies (property, business interruption, event cancellation, etc.) to be cognizant of are suit limitation clauses. First-party insurance policies typically contain a clause entitled “legal action against us” or “suit against us” that outlines time restrictions imposed by the policy in permitting suits to be brought to contest a coverage position. Such provisions can vary by policy, but may be as restrictive as limiting suits to be brought within one year of the inception of a loss. Read more…

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The Judicial Clock Will Be Running Again in September

By Mariella De Stefano, from our Insurance Law Practice Group

July 15, 2020 — Over the last month, activities in various sectors are gradually resuming and the re-openings are occurring in phases — as has been the case for our courts.

You may recall that last March, ministerial orders were issued to order the suspension of numerous delays and limitation periods until the Government of Quebec announces the end of the current state of emergency, which continues to be extended. On May 28, we informed you that the Courts would gradually resume their activities as of June 1st. We highlighted that the delays which were suspended temporarily, including prescription periods and procedural delays, would eventually be lifted.

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Courts to Resume Activities as the COVID-19 Crisis Cools Off (Slightly…)

By Mariella De Stefano, from our Insurance Law Practice Group

May 28, 2020 — The threat of the coronavirus is far from over. Yet, some activities slowly resume. The Courts, which were almost paralyzed for over two months, are gradually adjusting to the new reality. What will the impact be?

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The Demand Letter: A Tool That Should Not Be Underestimated

By Stéphanie Beauchamp, from our Insurance Law Practice Group

May 1, 2020 — Sending a demand letter is part of the usual process of most recovery files. It is sent at different points in time, depending on the way the claim is handled, and on the elements revealed during the investigation. People usually send it automatically, without necessarily understanding all of its implications. What is the actual purpose of the demand letter? What should it contain? Is it always mandatory? Here are a few reminders.

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Useful guidance for insured clients dealing with COVID-19 claims

There has been a great deal in the press recently about insurers rejecting coronavirus claims and disappointed policy-holders. Some of those speaking publicly on behalf of the insurance industry have not done much to dispel the confusion and get to the nub of the issue. The issue is not one of what the insurer “intended” to cover. It is a matter of what the policy says. We have had numerous enquiries from clients with questions about insurance policies and potential claims.

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Update: Business Interruption Insurance in the Time of COVID-19

On March 23, 2020, shortly after the Governors of California, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey issued orders closing non-essential businesses, we recommended that businesses review their insurance policies to determine if they had either business interruption coverage or civil authority coverage that might be available to lessen the economic blow of COVID-19.  As explained here, business interruption coverage generally allows a business to recover certain losses in the event that the business suffers physical damage or loss that prevents it from operating its business, whereas civil authority coverage, generally allows a business to recover losses when it a civil authority issues an order that closes a business or prevents it from normal operations.  We also recommended that businesses submit any claims expeditiously because virtually all policies require policy holders to submit claims “promptly,” and the failure to do so provides a basis to deny a claim.

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Compliances have taken a backseat during the ongoing lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic. Regulatory authorities have granted several relaxations to assist businesses to cope with the unprecedented lockdown and economic distress. We discuss herein below a few relaxations granted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India to ease the compliance distress of the companies.

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