THE INSURANCE CONTRACT – Interpretation – Cover provisions and exclusion clauses

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Michaud’s appeal from a trial judge’s decision finding that the respondent insurer had no obligation to defend the appellant under a home insurance policy in a tort action. The appellant was involved in an altercation at a bar in Quebec in which Bohn was injured. Bohn brought an action in Quebec against several people, including the appellant. The respondent declined to defend the appellant on the grounds that in the action he was charged with assault and intent to cause bodily harm, which were excluded from coverage under the policy.

DECISION: Appeal dismissed. Nothing in the wording of the insurance policy justified that the appellant’s intention to invoke self-defense in response to the action brought against him should be taken into account. The wording of the policy excluded any intentional act and failure to act. The policy did not provide any coverage for the acts upon which the claim against the appellant was based, even though Bohn’s injuries were unintentional. Bohn’s action could only have two results. Either the appellant could be deemed to have committed an intentional act, since he threw the first punch, and would be liable for injuries due to an intentional act, which was not covered by the policy. Or, if the court were to accept that the appellant acted in self-defense, there would be no damages to be paid and, therefore, there would be no obligation to compensate.

Michaud c. National Security cie dassurance, [2021] NBJ No. 223, New Brunswick Court of Appeal, KA Quigg, BL Baird and CA LeBlond JJ., September 9, 2021. Reports No. TLD-October42021003


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