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Standard of Care for Issuing Aircraft Insurance Illuminated

Brousseau Estate v Dubarry Estate, 2022 ABQB 60.

By: Weston McArthur (Student-at-Law)

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

At paragraph 1, W.S. Schlosser, Master of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, summarized this complex, multi-party, multi-action matter: “[h]ere are four competing summary judgement applications in two consolidated actions arising from a fatal plane crash resulting in the deaths of Stephen Brosseau, James Dubarry, and Charles Matson.”

Jones Brown (the “Broker”), who sold the aircraft insurance requested that the claims against them be dismissed on the basis that there was no merit to the Plaintiff’s claim. One of the main issues in the case was whether the Broker had “discharge[d] the applicable standard of care when providing Mr. Brousseau and Mr. Dubarry with an aircraft insurance policy?” [para 2].

The Court found that it did not have enough evidence to grant the Broker’s application, and stated that it needed expert opinion evidence to rule decisively on the matter.

In coming to this conclusion, the Court illuminated a bit about the nature of the standard of care of an aircraft insurance broker. Generally, the kind of aircraft insurance that brokers issue depends on the pilot’s qualifications. “An aircraft policy does not cover unnamed insureds operating the aircraft with consent, even if they are licensed pilots” [para 38]. This must be raised by the insurance broker when a person seeks to insure an aircraft to ensure that any potential gap in coverage could be addressed.

In this case, the Broker should have inquired more into the experience of those who were going to be flying the plane and provided more information about the insurance options available. Accordingly, the Court held that, for the purposes of summary judgement, the Broker did not meet the standard of care for an aircraft insurance broker.



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