MacPherson Estate v. Clarica Life Insurance Co., 2015 NBQB 162
Dr. William MacPherson died in 2003 when his vehicle was struck by a train. Family members applied to Clarica Life and Sun Life for accidental death benefits under Dr. MacPherson’s insurance policies. Both insurers refused to pay benefits. The insurers argued that Dr. MacPherson did not die as result of an accident, but rather committed suicide. The family members sued Clarica Life for $155,000 in death benefits and Sun Life for $150,000 in death benefits. They also sued these insurers for bad faith. In their Pre-Trial Brief, the Plaintiffs claimed a total amount of $2,040,476 against Clarica Life and Sun Life.
In the weeks leading up to trial, the Plaintiffs rejected the insurers’ offers to settle. After a 20 day trial in 2011 and 2012, Justice Garnett of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the Plaintiffs’ action. Dr. MacPherson committed suicide and therefore his family members were not entitled to accidental death benefits. Justice Garnett stated that there was no evidence that the insurers acted in bad faith.
For costs, Justice Garnett ordered the Plaintiffs to pay to Clarica Life and Sun Life $84,850 plus disbursements. Justice Garnett assessed costs on an amount involved of $2,000,000 and used Scale 4 on Tariff “A”. The allegations of bad faith necessitated calling claims managers and an insurance expert, which made the matters more complex. The Plaintiffs offered no evidence the insurers acted in bad faith.
You can read MacPherson Estate v. Clarica Life Insurance Co., 2015 NBQB 162, in its entirety here.