Family Fails to Declare 17 Year Old Son with G2 in Household - Policy Cancelled - Costs Awarded - Seetaram v. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 2019 ONSC 683

February 06, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Seetaram v. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 2019 ONSC 683 (CanLII)

Date of Decision: January 25, 2019
Heard Before: Justice Glustein

IS INSURANCE POLICY VALID:  duty to disclose material changes in the insured risk; applicant fails to advise insurer of change in risk; policy revoke is warranted; costs assessed to insured

 

The applicants bring this application for an order for:

  1. a declaration that the motor vehicle insurance policy issued to Zalimoon and Lakeram by Allstate is a valid insurance policy,
  2. in the alternative, relief from forfeiture from any breach by the Applicants of the Policy,
  3. reimbursement of legal costs incurred to date in defending an action brought against the Applicants in Court and
  4. costs of commencing this application.

Zalimoon and Lakeram are the mother and father, respectively, of their son Avinash, who was 17 at the date of the motor vehicle accident described in more detail below. Avinash lived with his parents during the relevant time period.

Justice Glustein ruled that for the reasons I set out the Policy is void.  

At the date of the renewal, Avinash had obtained his G2 licence.  Avinash previously held a G1 license. That change in risk was material to Allstate, who would have increased the premium almost two-fold based on a high-risk 17-year-old male driver with a G2 licence living in the household. Consequently, the Policy, as renewed by Zalimoon and Lakeram prior to the accident, was void.

Further, no relief is granted from forfeiture as the failure to disclose a material change in the insured risk is not “imperfect compliance with a policy term”, but rather “non-compliance with a condition precedent”, and as such the relief is not available.

Details:

Avinash who lived with his parents and had a G1 then G2 licence was involved in a car accident driving his parents’ car. They were sued by the injured policy, and the insurer Allstate then declared the policy void on the basis that the parents had not informed them that there was a 17-year-old male G2 licenced driver living in the household.

Allstate returned the premiums when the policy was declared void. Allstate’s lawyers maintain this decision shows “the importance for all insured of being honest with the insurance companies and providing updates is warranted particularly with respect to licensed drivers in the household and the importance of disclosing that to the insurance company.”

The family was ordered to pay $15,000 in costs to Allstate. The family’s lawyer maintains that the size of this award will discourage applicants ad insureds raising their voices against bi insurance companies.

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