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LIABILITY INSURANCE - Household or homeowner’s policies

Monday, February 10, 2020 @ 9:10 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by the insurer and cross-appeal by the insured from a decision of an application judge finding that the insured’s daughter was covered under her home insurance policy. The daughter was injured after she fell from a porch at her mother’s house. The policy excluded coverage for persons residing in the household other than a residence employee. The application judge held that the daughter was a member of the household but that she was a tenant and thus covered by the policy. The daughter lived in the house with her mother for 60 years and paid rent. The mother argued the application judge erred in not finding that the daughter was a resident employee. The daughter was not paid for work she did at the house.

HELD: Appeal allowed. Cross-appeal dismissed. The application judge made no error in interpreting the words person residing in your household or residence employee in the policy and applied those definitions to the agreed facts. The daughter was not a resident employee. She regularly performed domestic services in the house she shared with her mother, but she did not perform the services for her mother, who did not direct the daughter to do work and was not remunerated for doing specific tasks. The tasks she performed were for their mutual benefit. The daughter was a member of the mother’s household. Once it was established that the daughter was a person residing in the household, coverage could not be extended for her claim based on her status as a tenant. The application judge erred in her interpretation of the policy by holding that the claim was covered under the policy on the basis that the daughter was a tenant.

Traders General Insurance Co. v. Gibson, [2019] O.J. No. 6312, Ontario Court of Appeal, K.M. van Rensburg, D. Paciocco and J.A. Thorburn JJ.A., December 13, 2019. Digest No. TLD-February102020002