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THE INSURANCE CONTRACT - Interpretation - Coverage provisions and exclusion clauses

Tuesday, October 05, 2021 @ 5:53 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by Michaud from a decision of an application judge finding that the respondent insurer had no duty to defend the appellant under a homeowner’s insurance policy in a tort action. The appellant was involved in an altercation at a bar in Quebec in which Bohn was injured. Bohn commenced an action in Quebec against several individuals, including the appellant. The respondent refused to defend the appellant on the grounds that, in the action, he was accused of assault and intention to inflict bodily harm, which were excluded from coverage under the policy.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. There was nothing in the wording of the insurance policy to support that the appellant’s intention to plead self-defence in response to the action brought against him should be taken into consideration. The wording of the policy excluded all intentional acts and any failure to act. The policy provided no coverage for the acts on which the claim against the appellant was based, even if Bohn’s injuries were unintentional. Bohn’s action could only have two outcomes. Either the appellant could be deemed to have committed an intentional act, since he threw the first punch, and would be liable for the injuries because of an intentional act, which was not covered by the policy. Or, if the court accepted that the appellant acted in self-defence, there would be no damages to pay and, therefore, there would be no duty to indemnify.

Michaud v. Sécurité Nationale cie dassurance, [2021] N.B.J. No. 223, New Brunswick Court of Appeal, K.A. Quigg, B.L. Baird and C.A. LeBlond JJ.A., September 9, 2021. Digest No. TLD-October42021003