Legal Blog

Back
31 Mar 2019

Well documented files protect broker and insurer from liability

by Andrew Moss
  • SHARE

Siddall Jewellery Co. Ltd. v Angus-Miller Ltd., 2019 NBQB 042

The Plaintiffs, Siddall Jewellery Co. Ltd. and Siddalls Lazer Tec Engraving Ltd., were stores in Miramichi, New Brunswick.  Siddall Jewellery Co. Ltd. sold and repaired jewellery, watches and clocks.  Siddalls Lazer Tec Engraving engraved items such as trophies and gifts.  In 2006, the Plaintiffs’ owner-operator, Roy Siddall, purchased a commercial insurance policy for the Plaintiffs through broker John Stevens.  Mr. Stevens purchased the Policy from managing general agent, Angus-Miller Ltd.   

One night in the summer of 2016, several unknown thieves broke into Siddall Jewellery Co. Ltd.’s premises and stole more than $100,000.00 in jewelry from the store’s display cases.  The theft triggered an alarm and was captured by video surveillance.  However, the thieves were never apprehended.

Following the theft, Mr. Siddall claimed from Angus-Miller Ltd. compensation for the entirety of the jewellery loss.  Angus-Miller Ltd. denied the claim.  Angus-Miller Ltd. relied on the terms of the Policy, which explicitly excluded “loss or damage to… jewels, jewelry, costume jewelry, watches, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones” excepting the first $1,000.00 of the loss.  Angus-Miller Ltd. paid Mr. Siddall $1,000.00 as per the Policy.

Mr. Siddall brought an action against Mr. Stevens, Mr. Stevens’ brokerage firm, and Angus-Miller Ltd.  Mr. Siddall alleged Mr. Stevens failed to inform him about the Policy’s exclusion for jewelry and lead him to believe the jewellery was insured.  Mr. Siddall alleged Angus-Miller Ltd. was vicariously liable for Mr. Stevens’ negligence.

Mr. Stevens, his brokerage firm and Angus-Miller Ltd. brought motions for summary dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ action.  The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench granted the motions.  Mr. Stevens and Angus-Miller Ltd. countered Mr. Siddall’s allegations with several documents.  They provided the Court with letters, emails, facsimiles and hand-written notes that indicated Mr. Stevens and Mr. Siddall had discussed the Policy’s jewelry exclusion several times.  Mr. Stevens had also provided Mr. Siddall with quotes for alternative insurance policies designed for jewelers.  The evidence established that Mr. Stevens was not negligent.

Foster & Company’s own Andrew Moss successfully represented Angus-Miller Ltd. in this action.

At Foster & Company, we represent institutions and individuals looking for help understanding insurance coverages and responding to claims. Contact us by phone at 506-462-4000 or reach us online for advice.