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Insurance coverage for bullying

08 January 2015 Donald Dinnie, Norton Rose Fulbright
Donald Dinnie

Donald Dinnie

An insurer was required by a Canadian court to provide an indemnity under a comprehensive homeowner’s property and liability insurance policy to the parents of a child who bullied another pupil.

The insurer argued that the injuries claimed by the plaintiff were a result of an intentional act of assault, threatening and bullying. The policy contained an exclusion in respect of claims arising from bodily injury caused by an intentional criminal act, or failure by any person insured by the policy. The insured parents were liable for their negligent failure to investigate, remedy and prevent the bullying by their child. The court held it was a separate and distinct claim from the claim in delict against the child for her intentional conduct.

The court applied well-known principles of interpretation of insurance policies holding that the insurer had to establish that the intentional-act exclusion applied. The court said even if the policy did not respond to intentional acts committed by the insured child, that did not preclude coverage being triggered in favour of other insureds (the parents) against whom liability is sought to be imposed.

First published by: Financial Institutions Legal Snapshot

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