Court sides with Intact in Canadian Underwriter home insurance quota dispute
British Columbia homeowner who is listed with a second person on his home insurance policy lost his offer for Intact to pay him directly for his personal effects damaged in a flood, instead of issuing a quota for the two people registered on the policy.
Gary Buchanan jointly held a personal property insurance policy with a person identified only as “HL” in a recent BC Civil Rules Tribunal decision. HL was not a party to the dispute.
At one point in 2020, Buchanan and HL made an insurance claim with Intact after a flood damaged their home. Part of the insurance claim was for damage to Buchanan’s personal property. He claimed $ 3,065 for the cost of replacing a damaged phone, a video camera and three memory cards for the video camera.
In January 2021, Intact mailed a check co-payable to Buchanan and HL at their joint home address, and HL cashed it. The court assumed the check was for a settlement amount of $ 1,763.77, as reported in a November 2020 email from Intact to Buchanon.
Buchanan insisted that payment be made in his name only, valued at $ 3,065.
For its part, Intact said this was a clear term in Buchanan’s policy that when settling a claim, it will issue a check co-payable to both policyholders. The insurer added that under no circumstances is an Intact adjuster authorized to issue a check to only one of the two policyholders. The insurer denied that he owed Buchanon more for the claim than the settlement amount of $ 1,763, which he paid.
Buchanon said that Intact has never proven that it has such a policy regarding [co-payment]. Even though it had such a policy, he argued, Intact did not follow it. In support of his position, he asserted that Intact issued a check only to HL for the flooring installation costs associated with the insurance claim.
However, the emails Buchanon submitted as evidence only showed that a catering contractor had agreed to reimburse HL directly, the court ruled. “There is no evidence that the contractor actually reimbursed HL, or that Intact agreed to the arrangement,” CRT member Sarah Orr wrote in a decision released Wednesday.
Orr found that in the end, it didn’t matter whether or not Intact provided their co-payment policy.
“I agree that Intact has not provided any documentary evidence of its co-payment policy, and I find the emails from [an Intact representative] the evidence indicates that they were prepared to pay Mr. Buchanan directly for the value of his personal property claim, ”Orr wrote in his decision.
“However, I find that nothing turns on this [co-payment] political because Mr. Buchanan has not established that he is entitled to a payment from Intact. He says [the Intact representative] broke their promise that Intact would pay them directly for their claim by wire transfer. However, I find [the Intact representative’s] Declaration regarding the direct payment to Mr. Buchanan was conditional on obtaining HL’s agreement, and there is no evidence that HL accepted the proposed arrangement.
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