Commentaries are intended as an introduction or overview of the topic. The commentaries for some topics are more detailed than others but none of them should be taken as a complete and full recitation of the law applicable to the topic.
Marine insurance in Canada is governed by the Marine Insurance Act which is modeled on the English Act of 1906.
Over the years we have prepared various papers relating to marine insurance. Links to these papers are provided below. Readers are cautioned that the papers, though current as of the date prepared, are not updated.
Marine Insurance Act
The database contains 61 case summaries relating to Marine Insurance. The summaries are sorted in reverse date order with 20 summaries per page. If there are more than 20 summaries, use the navigation links at the bottom of the page.
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Liability of Agents and Brokers - Material Facts - Onus of Proof
1013799 Ontario Ltd. v. Kent Line International Ltd., 2000 CanLII 16926
This was an action against a freight forwarder and insurance broker for breach of contract and negligence arising out of damage to a cargo of chocolate bars shipped to Trinidad. The cargo was insured subject to the Institute Frozen Food Clauses which only provided coverage in the event of mechanical breakdown of the reefer units for a period longer than 24 hours and such coverage ceased 5 days after discharge from the ship. The Plaintiff was unable to meet these conditions and, hence, there was no insurance coverage. The claim against the freight forwarder and insurance broker for breach of contract was based on an alleged contractual agreement that the Defendants were to procure "all risks, warehouse to warehouse" insurance coverage for the shipment. The Court found, however, that although the Plaintiff had initially requested "all risks, warehouse to warehouse" coverage it later instructed the freight forwarder to procure coverage subject to the Institute Frozen Food Clauses. Accordingly, the Court found that there was no breach of contract.
The Court next considered the question of negligence. The Court reviewed the authorities on the duties owed by insurance agents and brokers to their customers. These authorities established that the duty included: to review the needs of the customer; to provide information about available coverage and advice about which forms of coverage are appropriate; to exercise reasonable skill and care to obtain policies in the terms bargained for and to service those policies as required; to advise the customer if they are unable to obtain the policies bargained for; and to point out gaps in the coverage and advise the customer how to protect against those gaps. The Court held that although the Plaintiff had been advised of the limiting conditions of the Institute Frozen Food Clauses, the Defendants had a duty to do more. Specifically, the Court found that extended coverage was available and that the Defendants should have advised the Plaintiff of this coverage. The Court rejected the Defendants’ argument that the Plaintiff had not proven that it would have been granted the extended coverage if it had so requested. The Court held that there was no onus on the Plaintiff to prove this.
An additional argument advanced by the Defendants was that there had been material non-disclosure on the part of the Plaintiff. The Court rejected this argument saying that even if there had been material non-disclosure the effect would be to make the contract of insurance voidable and not void ab initio. As the underwriter never exercised the right to void the policy the Defendants could not rely upon the voidability of the policy as proof that the Plaintiff suffered no loss. Further, the Court held that there was insufficient evidence that the facts not disclosed were material. The Court noted that the onus was on the Defendants to lead evidence from the underwriter that it, in fact, regarded the non-disclosure as material and also to lead expert evidence of an independent underwriter that a prudent underwriter would be of the same view. In the result, the Defendants were liable for failing to obtain the proper insurance coverage.
Laing v. Boreal Pacific, 2000 CanLII 16313
This was an appeal from a judgment of the Trial Division dismissing a claim under a marine insurance policy for the loss of an excavator. The excavator was loaded on the self-propelled barge, "Palaquin", and was being carried across the Strait of Georgia. During the crossing the seas became rough and the excavator shifted and ultimately fell overboard. The Plaintiff settled an action brought by the owner of the excavator and brought proceedings for indemnity pursuant to the terms of his insurance policy. The Defendant insurer denied the claim on the basis that the vessel was unseaworthy at the commencement of the journey. The Trial Judge found that the barge was unseaworthy in that it was too heavily laden for the sea conditions that could reasonably be expected and the excavator was not properly secured. She further found that the Plaintiff had knowledge of the facts that made the vessel unseaworthy. In result, the Plaintiff's action was dismissed. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the Trial Judge correctly applied the test of privity, ie. whether the shipowner had knowledge of the facts constituting the unseaworthiness and knowledge that those facts rendered the ship unseaworthy or turned a blind eye to the facts giving rise to the unseaworthiness. In the result, the appeal was dismissed.
Cargo Insurance - Insufficiency of Packing
Rainbow Technicoloured Wood Veneer Ltd. v. The "Canmar Conquest" et al., 2000 CanLII 15770
This was an action by the Plaintiff against its cargo insurer for damage to a guillotine press in an amount in excess of $100,000.00. The Defendant insurer argued that coverage was excluded by clause 4.3 of the Institute Cargo Clauses (A) in that the press was insufficiently packed and prepared for shipment. The Court reviewed the evidence of the surveyors, all of whom gave the opinion that the securing of the press in the container was inadequate, and dismissed the action.
Air Carriage - Theft - Limitation - Cargo Insurance - Cancellation - Misrepresentation
Nuvo Electronics Inc. v. London Assurance et al., 2000 CanLII 22388
This matter arose out of the loss of 15 cartons of integrated circuits valued at US$1,403,000 and carried by air from San Francisco to Toronto. The shipment left San Franciso on August 10, 1996, and arrived at Toronto on the morning of August 11, 1996. It was then placed in the Air Canada cargo warehouse but was never seen again. The Plaintiff consignee commenced this action for the value of the lost cargo against its cargo underwriter and the air carrier.
The air carrier defended the action arguing that the Plaintiff had not proven the value or the contents of the cargo, that it had delivered the goods to a courier for delivery to the Plaintiff and that it was, in any event, entitled to limit its liability pursuant to the Warsaw Convention. The only evidence adduced at trial as to the value and content of the shipment was the air waybill, the packing list and the commercial invoice. The carrier objected to the admission of these documents on the basis that they were hearsay and not properly admissible. The Court, however, held that these documents were business records within the meaning of the Canada Evidence Act and were admissible to prove both the content and value of the shipment. The carrier’s second argument, that it had delivered the cargo to a courier, was also rejected by the Court. The Court found as a fact that although the courier driver had signed for the cargo he did not in fact receive the cargo as it could not be located by the air carrier. The Court next considered whether the air carrier could limit its liability under the Warsaw Convention and held that it could not. There were two reasons advanced by the Court for this decision. First, the Court found that the air waybill was not in conformity with Article 8 of the Convention in that it did not contain the name of the airport departure, the name of the first carrier, whether the weight was in pounds or kilograms and the nature and quantity of the goods. Relying upon American case law, the Court held that if an air carrier fails to include the particulars required by Article 8 of the Convention in the air waybill then, pursuant to Article 9, the carrier is not entitled to limit liability. Second, the Court held that the Plaintiff had proven that it was more probable than not that the cargo was stolen by an employee of the carrier or with the complicity of an employee of the carrier and that there was an irresistible inference that such employee was in the course and scope of his employment when the theft occurred. Accordingly, the Court held that there was "wilful misconduct" and that the carrier was not entitled to limit its liability.
With respect to the insurance issues, the cargo underwriter denied coverage on the basis that it had cancelled the policy of insurance prior to the loss and also on the basis that the assured had failed to disclose prior losses. The shipment was insured under an open cargo policy that provided that it could be cancelled upon 30 days written notice "but such cancellation shall not affect any risks which have already attached hereunder". The policy further provided that notices mailed to the broker were deemed to have been received by the assured. On July 10, 1996, the underwriter faxed a notice of cancellation to the broker giving 30 days notice of cancellation and stating that the cancellation would be effective on August 10, 1996. The underwriter took the position that the policy was cancelled as of 12:01 a.m. on August 10, 1996. The Court, however, held that there were three problems with the underwriter’s notice of cancellation. First, the notice of cancellation was vague and imprecise in that it did not say how the 30 days was to be calculated and did not specify the exact time on August 10, 1996, the cancellation would be effective. The Court held that the notice of cancellation could be interpreted to mean that coverage would be in force for the entire day of August 10, 1996. Second, the policy required that the notice of cancellation be mailed to the broker. Third, the policy also contained statutory conditions which contained clauses dealing with termination that were different from those in the body of the policy and which the underwriter made no attempt to comply with. The Court therefore held that the policy was ambiguous and the underwriter had failed to give proper notice of cancellation. The Court next turned to the issue of whether the policy was void ab initio by reason of the assured’s failure to disclose at the time it applied for the policy that it had suffered prior losses. The evidence disclosed that the assured’s broker had advised the underwriter that there had been no losses except for one lost package (value $300.00) three years earlier. This information was not accurate. In fact, the assured had suffered a series of losses in the hands of its courier totalling $18,000.00. This information did not come to the attention of the underwriter until after the loss in issue. The underwriter submitted that these facts were material to the risk and should have been disclosed. The underwriter led the evidence of an expert independent underwriter to the effect that the courier losses would have caused him to either increase the premium or modify the conditions of carriage. The Court, however, found as a fact that the Defendant underwriter would have written the risk even if it had been advised of the prior losses. Under these circumstances it was irrelevant what an independent underwriter would have done. The Court held that a successful defence on the basis of material non-disclosure requires proof that, if the facts had been disclosed, the underwriter who wrote the risk would have declined the risk or required a higher premium and evidence from an independent "prudent" underwriter to the same effect. Accordingly, the Court held that the underwriter had failed to prove material non-disclosure and the underwriter was held liable for the insured value of the lost cargo. (Note: The underwriter was not without a remedy as there was a recovery from the air carrier which is detailed below under "Carriage of Goods".)
All Risks Coverage - Wear and Tear - Repairer's Negligence
Bevan v. Gartside Marine Engines Ltd. et al., 2000 BCPC 31
This was an action against a repairer and an insurer under an all risks policy for damage caused when a transmission overheated. The Plaintiff alleged that the repairer had been negligent in performing prior repairs to the trolling valve control linkage. The Plaintiff further alleged that the damage was covered by his all risks policy. The repairer denied negligence and the insurer defended on the basis of an exclusion in the policy excluding liability for damage caused by wear and tear and mechanical breakdown. The Court found that there could have been multiple causes of the transmission failure including pre-existing damage, wear and tear and improper use of the trolling gear by the Plaintiff or previous owners. As a result, the Court held that negligence on the part of the repairer had not been proven. With respect to the claim against the insurer, the Court noted that there are limits to the coverage afforded by an all risks policy and that the Plaintiff was required to prove that the cause of the transmission failure "was due to a casualty". The Court held that the Plaintiff had not proven that the loss was due to a casualty and coverage was denied.
Waiver of Subrogation - Additional Assureds - Privity of Contract
Fraser River Pile & Dredge Ltd. v. Can-Dive Services Ltd., 2000 BCCA 4
This was an action by the owners and underwriters of the derrick barge "Sceptre Squamish" against the charterer of the barge. The "Sceptre Squamish" was lost in the Strait of Georgia when it was left by the charterer unattended in heavy weather. The charterer defended the action alleging that the loss of the barge was due to the negligence of the owner, that there was an agreement that the owner would insure the barge for the benefit of the charter, and that the action, which was a subrogated action by hull underwriters, was barred by reason of a waiver of subrogation and "additional insureds" clause in the hull policy. The waiver of subrogation clause waived subrogation against charterers. The "additional insureds" clause gave the owner permission to charter and made the charterer an additional insured under the policy. The owners and underwriters argued that the charterer was not entitled to rely on these terms because it was not a party to the policy and because the owners and underwriters had executed an agreement following the loss in which they agreed to proceed with legal action against the charterer and in which the owner waived any rights it had under the waiver of subrogation clause. At trial (reported at (1995), 9 B.C.L.R. (3d) 260), the court held that the loss of the barge was due to the negligence of the charter, that there was not sufficient evidence of an agreement to insure, and that the doctrine of privity applied to prevent the charterer from relying upon the waiver of subrogation and "additional insureds" clauses. On appeal (reported at (1997), 39 B.C.L.R. (3d) 187), the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld that part of the trial judgement holding that there was no agreement to insure. The Court of Appeal then embarked on a lengthy analysis of the doctrine of privity and concluded that the doctrine of privity no longer applied to prevent a third party from taking the benefit of a waiver of subrogation clause. The Court of Appeal further held that the agreement entered into between underwriters and owners following the loss was ineffective as the charterers rights had crystallized upon the happening of the loss. On further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court held that new exceptions to the doctrine of privity must meet a two part test: 1. the parties to the contract must intend to extend the benefit to the third party seeking to rely on the contractual provision; and 2. the activities performed by the third party must be the very activities contemplated as coming within the scope of the contract in general, or the provision in particular, as determined by reference to the intentions of the parties. Applying this two part test, the court found that there could be no question that owners and underwriters intended to extend the benefit of the waiver of subrogation clause to a class of third parties (charterers) that included the charterer and that the relevant activities arose in the context of the charter relationship, the very activity anticipated in the waiver of subrogation clause. With respect to the agreement entered into between underwriters and owners following the loss, the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeal that the happening of the loss crystallized the charterer’s rights and that the waiver of subrogation clause could thereafter not be amended without the agreement of the charterer.
Discovery - Privilege
Commercial Union Assurance Company PLC. v. M.T. Fishing Co. Ltd., 1999 CanLII 7472
In this matter the Plaintiff insurers paid out a fire damage claim. Subsequently, it was learned that the fire may have been intentionally set. The insurers then instituted a fresh investigation into these allegations which ultimately resulted in commencement of the present action to recover the insurance moneys paid. At issue in this motion was whether the reports and information subsequent to the commencement of the second investigation were privileged from production. The court at first instance reviewed the law of privilege and ultimately held that the dominant purpose of that investigation was to commence an action to recover the insurance moneys paid out. Indeed, the court could see no other reason for such investigation. On appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, it was noted that the motions Judge did not determine if litigation was in reasonable prospect when the reports were prepared or whether litigation was the dominant purpose for the creation of the reports. The Court of Appeal noted that this was because counsel had agreed that they could determine what documents and information had to be disclosed if the Judge merely determined whether the dominant purpose of the investigation was to commence an action to recover the insurance moneys paid. In light of this agreement, the Court of Appeal found no error in the finding of the motion Judge and dismissed the appeal.
Marine Insurance - All Risks Policy
Russell v. Canadian General Insurance Co., 11 C.C.L.I. (3d) 284
In this matter the Plaintiff claimed under an all risks marine policy for damage caused to a sailboat by the accumulation of water in the interior of the vessel. The damage to the sailboat occurred during the period from 1990 to 1993. The assured put the vessel into storage at the end of the summer in 1990 and left it in storage until October 1993 when it was discovered to be full of water. The accumulation of water had rendered the vessel a constructive total loss. The insurer denied coverage on the basis that there was wilful misconduct on the part of the assured, that the Plaintiff "courted the risk" and that the damage was caused by wear and tear, an excepted peril under the policy. There was conflicting evidence as to whether the assured periodically inspected the vessel while it was in storage. The assured testified that he did periodically inspect the vessel. The insurer led expert evidence to the effect that the assured could not have possibly inspected the vessel given the amount of water that had accumulated. The court, however, held that there was no requirement that the assured inspect the vessel. The court also held that there was no "wilful misconduct" on the part of the assured as he did not intend to damage the vessel and there was no deliberate courting of the risk as the damage was not foreseen. Additionally, the court found the damage was not caused by wear and tear as the damage was highly unusual and not the result of an occurrence ordinarily to be expected.
Breach of Warranty of Inspection
Shearwater Marine Ltd. v. Guardian Insurance Co. et.al., 1998 CanLII 5882
The Plaintiff claimed under a marine insurance policy for the constructive total loss of a 93 year old converted wooden fish packer. The vessel sank while moored to a log boom breakwater. The Defendant insurers denied coverage arguing that the assured had breached a warranty that provided: "Vessel inspected daily basis and pumped as necessary". The vessel was not boarded on a daily basis for the purpose of "inspection". It was, however, observed from a distance (often of 300 yards) and pumped as necessary. The trial judge held that compliance with the warranty did not require daily boarding of the vessel but, rather, that daily observation by a knowledgeable observer was sufficient. The trial judge further went on to consider whether the warranty was a "true warranty ", the breach of which would void the policy, or merely a suspensive condition, the breach of which merely suspends the policy while the breach continues. The trial judge held that the warranty was a suspensive condition. This was relevant as the vessel had been boarded and pumped the day before the sinking. A final issue concerned whether the vessel was truly a constructive total loss, i.e.. whether the cost of repair exceeded the insured value. This, in turn, depended on whether the assured's normal labour charge-out rate was used to calculate the repair cost or whether the actual cost to the assured (i.e.. without a profit element) was used. The trial judge held that the normal charge-out rate should be used. The insurer appealed. The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that "the trial judge reached the right conclusions for the right reasons " and dismissed the appeal.
Insurance - Extent of insurer's obligation to repair
Lockwood v. Moreira, No. C21444 (Ont. C.A.)
In this matter the insured's pleasure craft was broken into by vandals who used citronella candles in the interior of the vessel. As a consequence, a thick sooty substance covered the interior of the vessel. The assured made a claim under the insurance policy and the insurers responded by having the interior of the vessel cleaned. The assured was not satisfied with the first cleaning so the insurers authorized a second cleaning. The assured was still not satisfied and took the position that the only way the vessel could be restored to its original condition was by removing the deck and replacing the interior at a cost of $100,000. The trial judge held that the insurer's obligation under the policy was to restore the boat to substantially the same condition it was in before the vandalism, which had been done. The insurer was not required to restore the boat to the exact condition it was in before the vandalism. The trial judge further rejected a claim of bad faith against the insurer, holding the insurer had responded promptly to the claim and without malice. The insured appealed. The Ontario Court of Appeal in a brief endorsement noted that they agreed with the trial judge that the boat "was substantially repaired " and dismissed the appeal.
Cargo Insurance - Exclusions - Institute Frozen Meat Clauses
Queen Charlotte Lodge Ltd. v. Hiway Refrigeration Ltd. and Royal Insurance, 1998 CanLII 6552
In this matter the Plaintiff had purchased a used refrigeration unit from one of the defendants for use in transporting meat
and vegetables to the Plaintiff's fishing lodge in the Queen Charlotte islands. The goods were insured under a policy of insurance that included the Institute Frozen Meat Clauses A-24. These clauses contained an exclusion excluding any loss arising from "unfitness of container... where loading therein is carried out prior to attachment of this insurance or by the assured or their servants ". While in transit the refrigeration unit ceased functioning and the goods within were spoiled. The Plaintiff sued both the vendor of the refrigeration unit and the insurer. The Court found that the cause of the failure of the refrigeration unit was a defective part. With respect to the liability of the vendor of the refrigeration unit, the Plaintiff argued the vendor was liable for breach of the implied warranties of fitness and merchantability in the Sale of Goods Act. The vendor argued that it had contracted out of the implied terms by the use of the words "No Warranty " in a quotation given to the Plaintiff. The Court held, however, that these words were not sufficiently clear to exclude the implied terms. With respect to the liability of the insurer, the Court held that the loss was excluded by the terms of the policy and the insurer was not liable. In reaching this conclusion the Court noted that the insurer did stipulate for the inclusion of the Institute Frozen Meat clauses in its negotiations with the broker and that the broker was, as a matter of law, the agent for the assured.
Stays of Proceedings - Marine Insurance - Interpretation of Arbitration Provision in Policy
Ocean Fisheries Ltd. v. Pacific Coast Mutual Marine Insurance Company, 1997 CanLII 6367 (FCA) 30/10/1997
This was an appeal from an order of Mr. Justice Teitelbaum of the Trial Division. A motion for a stay was initially brought before the Prothonotary who ordered a stay on the basis of an arbitration provision contained in the by-laws of the Defendant, a mutual insurance company, and incorporated by reference into the terms of an insurance policy. The Plaintiff argued that the arbitration provisions should be read contra proferentem against the Defendant and, that when so read they did not apply. The Prothonotary held that there was no ambiguity in the provisions and that they did apply. Further, the Prothonotary disagreed that the doctrine of contra proferentem should apply to an insurance policy issued by a mutual insurance company such as the Defendant. On appeal, Mr. Justice Teitelbaum held that the Prothonotary erred in failing to read the insurance policy contra proferentem. Further, he held that when the policy was so read the arbitration provision applied only if the Defendant had made an offer of settlement. As the Defendant had not made an offer of settlement, the Plaintiff was not obliged to arbitrate. On further appeal to the Court of Appeal the Court affirmed the result of Mr. Justice Teitelbaum. The Court held that a contract of insurance was to be interpreted like any other cont ract,i.e.. to discover and give effect to the intention of the parties as disclosed by the words used, the context and the purpose. The Court held that when and the bylaws of the Defendant were so interpreted the dispute did not come within the arbitration clause.
Negligence of Broker
Percy v. West Bay Boat Builders and Shipyards Ltd. et.al., 1997 CanLII 4139
This was an appeal of a decision in which an insurance broker was found liable for not obtaining the proper coverage for its client, a yacht builder. The issue arose when the builder was sued by a customer after the customer's yacht caught fire. The customer alleged that the boat was negligently manufactured by the builder. The action by the customer was settled out of court for a substantial sum. The builder sought reimbursement of the settlement funds and of its full legal costs from the broker. The builder alleged that the broker had enticed it away from another broker/insurer by promising "full coverage " at better rates. As it turned out, the policy obtained for the builder by the broker did not provide the same coverage as was provided by the prior policy. Specifically, it did not cover the product liability claim of the builder's customer. If the prior policy had been in place, the builder would have been covered for this claim. The broker was found liable both at trial and on appeal for failing to properly review its client's prior policies and for failing to properly advise the client of the exclusions to coverage.
Liability Insurance - Coverage
Strangemore's Electrical Limited v. Insurance Corporation of Newfoundland Limited,  I.L.R. I-3475 (Nfld. S.C.)
This was an action under a policy of commercial insurance. The Plaintiff was in the business of servicing and repairing vessels. One such vessel (which incidentally was owned by the President of the Plaintiff company) was destroyed by fire while in the possession of the Plaintiff for servicing. The boat owner brought an action against the Plaintiff who, in turn, requested coverage under the liability provisions of the insurance policy. The Defendant insurer denied coverage, relying on an exclusion in the policy that excluded coverage for "personal property in your care custody or control ". However the policy also contained a specific exclusion for watercraft which provided that the exclusion did not apply to "watercraft while ashore on premises you own or rent ". The Court held that clearly the boat in issue was on the premises of the assured and therefore the policy applied.
Demitri v. General Accident Indemnity Co., 1996 CanLII 1624
This is not a recent case but it is one which we have only recently become aware of. The Plaintiff was injured and his vessel was damaged when it was rammed by a vessel insured by the Defendant. The Plaintiff obtained judgement against the assured but was unable to recover from the assured and was therefore attempting to recover direct from the insurer pursuant to statute. The insurer denied liability on the grounds that its assured had failed to give it prompt notice of the claim as required by the terms of the policy. The accident occurred in September of 1991 but the assured did not give notice until November of 1992. The Court held that the assured had failed to give prompt notice and declined to give relief from forfeiture. In result, the Plaintiff was not able to recover from the insurer.
Breach of Lay Up Warranty
Marler v. Royal Insurance Company et.al, No. C12405/93(Ont. Ct. Gen. Div.)
This was an action by a vessel owner against his underwriter and insurance broker. The underwriter provided the broker with a quotation for insurance which contemplated issuance of an All Risk policy upon compliance with all survey recommendations and a re-survey. It also included a warranty: "Warranted laid-up and out of commission ". The quotation was provide to the assured who instructed the broker to procure the insurance. The assured subsequently put the vessel in the water. When the broker learned of this she advised the assured that the warranty did not permit the boat to be in the water. The insurer later advised the assured that the policy was cancelled. Nine days later the vessel sank. The Court held that the assured, an experienced sailor, boat owner and marine lawyer, was aware of the meaning of the warranty and had breached the warranty by putting the vessel in the water. Accordingly, the action was dismissed.
Tower's Legal Liability
Catherwood Towing Ltd. v. Commercial Union Assurance Co. et.al., 1996 CanLII 2064
The issue in this case was whether the tug owner's P&I policy offered coverage in respect of loss of or damage to cargo on board a barge. The barge and cargo were owned by the same person and were being towed by the tug owner pursuant to a contract of towage at the time of the loss. The insurer denied coverage on the basis of a clause in the policy that excluded "all liability in respect of cargo ". The tug owner relied on the wording of a Tower's Liability endorsement which extended coverage to the "tow or the freight thereof or to the property on board ". Both the trial Judge and the Court of Appeal held that the cargo exclusion in the policy applied only to cargo on board the insured vessel (i.e.. the tug) and not to cargo on board the barge which was owned by the cargo owner and not insured under the policy. Further, it was held that the word "freight " in the endorsement meant goods transported in a vessel. In result, there was coverage under the policy.
Tower's Legal Liability
Burrard Towing Co. v. Reed Stenhouse Limited, 1996 CanLII 1919 (BC CA)
This case involved the interpretation of a Tower's Legal Liability Policy. The facts were that a barge under demise charter to a tug company capsized while under tow and the cargo was lost. The barge was an insured vessel under the tug company's policy. The issue in the case was whether the tug company had legal liability coverage for the lost cargo. The policy contained an express exclusion for "liability in respect of cargo on board vessels insured herein ". It also, however, contained an endorsement which provided: "coverage is extended to include Legal Liability of the Assured...in respect of loss of, or damage to...her tow...or the property thereon... ". The Tug company argued that this endorsement extended the coverage to cargo on the barge notwithstanding the exclusion. The Court of Appeal held, however, that in interpreting the insurance policy it was necessary to distinguish between liabilities arising out of contracts of towage and those arising out of contracts of carriage. The Court held that the endorsement applied only to contracts of towage and not to contracts of carriage. It further held that, as the tug and barge were both supplied by the tug owner, the contract was one of carriage. Accordingly, the cargo exclusion applied and the Underwriters were not liable under the policy.
Poirier v. Laurentian Casualty Co, No. 65F, (Ont.Ct. Gen.Div.).
This case concerned a claim under an insurance policy for theft of a boat and trailer allegedly left on the side of a road when the trailer tire became flat. The Court held that the assured and his witnesses were not credible and concluded the assured had failed to prove his case. In reaching its conclusion the Court took into account that the assured had serious financial problems and the vessel was for sale at the time of the alleged theft.
Exclusion for Household Resident - Estoppel
Snair v. Halifax Insurance, 1995 CanLII 4400
In this matter the Plaintiff sought a declaration of coverage. The Plaintiff had earlier been found 100% liable for a very serious boating accident that rendered his former housemate a quadriplegic. The insurer denied coverage on the grounds of an exclusion in the policy excluding coverage to " any person residing in your household " . The Court held that by the time of the accident the assured and the injured party " were no longer a unit that possessed the elements of intimacy and community" such that the exclusion could apply. In any event, the Court held that the insurer was estopped from denying coverage on the grounds that it had defended the assured in the liability action for over four years. During this period, no denial of coverage was ever issued, no reservation of rights letter was sent and the assured was never asked to sign a non-waiver agreement.