Opining on coverage issues requires experience one can only expect from professionals who restrict their practice to the insurance industry. Our professionals provide opinions relied upon by the top insurers in Canada and worldwide when determining coverage for specific claims, calculating reserves and drafting policy wordings, and have appeared as counsel in multiple coverage cases before Supreme Court of Canada, as well as other appellate courts. We have specific expertise in the following areas:
(a) Specialty Lines
Many of our professionals are conversant in the unique coverage issues posed by specialty lines policies, including professional liability, D&O and EPL. Our firm currently acts for at least eight different specialty lines insurers and syndicates that regularly underwrite both duty to defend and reimbursement policies. We regularly provide coverage advice on a wide range of issues include the scope of the common exclusions, problems inherent to a “claims made and reported” form, materiality of pre-inception representations and extra-contractual remedies available to the insurer, and jurisdictional issues where, in particular, D&O claims extend beyond provincial or national boundaries. We have also provided advice on “cross border” litigation and determining the most beneficial forum for litigating the coverage issues.
Our firm has argued, in the appellate courts, some of the leading D&O coverage cases including whether psychological harm amounts to “bodily injury” and the proper method for allocation when a claim entails non-insured parties. In addition, our firm has acted as national monitoring counsel working with defence counsel, including in the United States, to manage the litigation in a manner consistent with the objectives of the insurer, including the auditing of defence files in the context of reimbursement policies.
Our firm has a long history of providing advice on coverage issues inherent to construction law, including CGL, course of construction and wrap up policies. Our advice has included the limitations on tort recovery incidental to a course of construction wording and unique problems and conflicts when a “wrap up” liability policy exists concurrently with general liability wordings. We have litigated “work product” exclusions and issues involving the ambit of the completed operations coverage. The firm’s coverage advice has frequently been sought on differing “trigger” theories and to what extent particular liability policies need to respond to a loss. In recent years we have acted as counsel on construction coverage cases in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba, as well as in British Columbia.
(c) Sexual Abuse
Our firm has significant experience in opining on coverage for sexual abuse claims. Insurers have been found liable to defend and pay damages for claims of sexual abuse arising out of “recovered memories” of incidents that would be statute-barred if brought pursuant to any other cause of action. Our professionals understand this area of the law and can address coverage for such “long tail” claims. We acted as counsel in the leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on the extent of the duty to defend obligation in the context of sexual abuse claims: Non-Marine Underwriters, Lloyd’s of London v. Scalera, 2000 SCC 24.