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Case Summary

Abrams v. Aviva Insurance Co. of Canada (June 26, 2009), FSCO P08-00027 (Blackman)

Lawyer: James M. Brown

This was an appeal of an award of death benefits, interest and a special award.

At the time of his death, the insured was in a common law relationship with his spouse, who had two children. The insured also had two other children out of province, for whom he was obligated to pay support. The spouse had provided a statement to the insurer, which indicated that she did not meet the definition of a "spouse" under the Insurance Act. She later changed her evidence concerning the length of her relationship, which brought her within the definition of a "spouse", however she refused to provide any explanation for the change in her evidence.

The insurer had paid the spousal death benefit into court, and the spouse brought a successful application to have it paid out. However, the spouse proceeded with a claim for interest and a special award from the insurer because of the delays in the payment of the benefit. The two children of the spouse brought similar claims, even though dependant death benefits were paid into court for them following the successful application by the spouse.

The arbitrator at first instance awarded interest to the children, and made a special award against the insurer. On appeal, James successfully argued that the awards were improper, and had them overturned.

Contact James Brown for more details or read the full decision on The FSCO site. Note: a login is required.


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