Court Compels ICBC To Disclose Relevant Policy Of Insurance

When the amendments to the British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules came into effect on July 1, 2010, there was a new rule that required parties to disclose the limit of the insurance coverage available to them. Such disclosure is intended to assist parties in assessing their prospects of recovery upon judgment, as well as to encourage settlement of claims where the limits of insurance coverage would play a factor when weighing settlement offers.

 

Rule 7-1(3) of the British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules states that, with respect to an insurance policy:

 

(3) A party must include in the party’s list of documents any insurance policy under which an insurer may be liable

 

(a) to satisfy the whole or any part of a judgment granted in the action, or

 

(b) to indemnify or reimburse any party for any money paid by that party in satisfaction of the whole or any part of such a judgment.

 

In Sinnett v. Loewen, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision, and consequently sued for damages. Prior to Examinations for Discovery and the setting of a trial date, counsel for the Plaintiff and ICBC’S lawyer exchanged Lists of Documents, as required under the British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules.

 

Counsel for the Plaintiff was not content with the extent of production of the Defendant’s documentation respecting insurance coverage, necessitating an interlocutory application before a Master seeking unredacted versions of any insurance policies and insurance coverage that the Defendant may have. ICBC’S lawyer opposed the application, and sought a dismissal, with an award of special costs.

 

In citing the British Columbia Court of Appeal case of Meghji with respect to judicial consideration of Rule 7-1(3), Master Bouck commented :

 

[15] In its decision, the Court of Appeal takes a broad view of what information should produced pursuant to the above-cited rule. For example, such information is not limited to an actual document detailing a policy of insurance but rather encompasses information about “insurance coverage.”

 

[16] Furthermore, that Court found that all Supreme Court Civil Rules ought to be interpreted in such a fashion as to encourage the settlement of claims: para. 129. Thus, by disclosing their respective insurance coverages (including any UMP coverage available to the plaintiff), the parties in this case will be in a more informed position to reach a negotiated settlement.

 

[17] … there is an obligation on the defendant to list any such documents. If no such document appears on the defendant’s list, the plaintiff may choose to pursue the existence of the documents at an examination for discovery. If listed, the issue of a particular document’s relevancy and thus its admissibility into evidence can still be challenged by the defendant at trial: SCCR 7‑1(4).

 

[18] In the result, there will be an order that the defendant include in his list of documents any insurance policy or certificate of insurance or any other type of document that discloses insurance coverage under which an insurer may be liable to satisfy in whole or any part of a judgment granted in this action or to indemnify or reimburse the defendant for any money paid by the defendant in satisfaction of the whole or any part of such judgment.

 

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