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September 2019

Who is an insured person?

Case Study: Hunt v. Peel Mutual Insurance Company, 2019 ONCA 656

Van Krkachovski
Van Krkachovski

By Van Krkachovski

The Court of Appeal determined that to be covered under s. 239 of the Insurance Act, an occupant's liability for loss or damage must arise from the use or operation of the vehicle. Mr. Hunt and his daughter, Amealia, were passengers in a vehicle driven by Mr. Hunt's girlfriend, Tammy-Lynn Dingman, who was driving impaired. Ms. Dingman held an automobile insurance policy at the time with Peel Mutual Insurance Company.

Amelia's injuries arose from the impaired driver's use of the vehicle. However, Mr. Hunt's liability arises from negligent parenting, not from his actions as an occupant of the vehicle.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the motion judge that Peel Mutual Insurance Company is not required to defend Mr. Hunt against his daughter's lawsuit, as he is not an “insured person” under s. 239 of the Insurance Act.

The plain and ordinary meaning of s. 239 cannot be overcome by the fact that the Insurance Act is consumer protection legislation, or that policies should be construed in favour of coverage. Due to his decision to put his daughter in a vehicle operated by an impaired driver, if Mr. Hunt was covered by the insurance policy, it would lead to the absurd outcome that coverage hinges on whether Mr. Hunt was an occupant. As such, the appeal is dismissed.

Read the full decision or go to the next recent case summary.


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