Skip to content

Client Update – Protecting the innocent in property insurance: recent amendments to Nova Scotia’s Insurance Act limit “criminal or intentional act” exclusion clauses

Jennifer Taylor

Recent amendments to the Nova Scotia Insurance Act are designed “to protect the financial interests of an innocent person when the person’s property is damaged by another person with whom that person shares an insurance policy.”1 The consequences of domestic violence provide the backdrop for these amendments, which came into force on April 18, 2018. The amendments apply to property insurance policies and will primarily impact homeowners’ policies.

As a result of the amendments, policies can no longer exclude coverage for an innocent insured who experiences property loss or damage as a result of their co-insured’s criminal or intentional wrongdoing.

When she announced these amendments to the Insurance Act, Finance Minister Karen Casey noted that they would especially assist women, who are “disproportionately” affected by domestic violence and may suffer property loss or damage at their home as a result.

Nova Scotia is one of several Canadian provinces — including New Brunswick — that have made similar amendments to their insurance legislation.

Going forward, Nova Scotia property policies will be interpreted in accordance with the new section 13A of the Insurance Act, regardless of how the policy’s exclusion clause governing criminal and intentional acts is worded.

The new section 13A of the Insurance Act provides:

13A (1) Where a contract contains a term or condition excluding coverage for loss or damage to property caused by a criminal or intentional act or omission of an insured or any other person, the exclusion applies only to the claim of a person

(a) whose act or omission caused the loss or damage;

(b) who abetted or colluded in the act or omission;

(c) who

(i) consented to the act or omission, and

(ii) knew or ought to have known that the act or omission would cause the loss or damage; or

(d) who is not a natural person.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) allows a person whose property is insured under the contract to recover more than the person’s proportionate interest in the lost or damaged property.

(3) A person whose coverage would be excluded but for subsection (1) shall

(a) co-operate with the insurer in respect of the investigation of the loss, including submitting to an examination under oath if requested by the insurer;

(b) in addition to producing any documents required by the contract, produce for examination, at a reasonable place and time specified by the insurer, all documents in the person’s possession or control that relate to the loss; and

(c) comply with any other requirement prescribed by the regulations.

NOTE: This update provides general information only and is not intended to offer legal advice. If you have specific questions about how the amendments might affect you, please contact the head of our firm-wide Insurance Defence Practice Group, Shelley Wood; Tyana Caplan; or any of Stewart McKelvey’s insurance lawyers in Nova Scotia.


1See the Explanatory Note to Bill 106, as well as “Amendments to the Insurance Act Protect Nova Scotians” (March 29, 2018).
2Donalee Moulton, “New Brunswick amends Insurance Act to better protect victims of domestic violence” in The Lawyer’s Daily (December 27, 2017).
3Insurance Act, RSNS 1989, c 231, as amended by SNS 2018, c 12 (Bill 106). The amendments have not yet been consolidated into the online version of the Insurance Act.

SHARE

Archive

Search Archive


 
 

Recent case re-confirms temporary ailment is not a disability

June 24, 2024

By Mark Tector and Tiegan A. Scott Decision On April 3, 2024, the Alberta Court of King’s Bench (“ABKB”) upheld a decision of the Chief of the Commissions and Tribunals (the “CCT Decision”), which held…

Read More

Compensation for expropriation: Fair, but not more than fair

June 17, 2024

By Erin Best, Stephen Penney, Robert Bradley, Megan Kieley1 and Elizabeth Fleet1 Expropriation is a live issue in Canadian courts. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to broaden the test for constructive expropriation in Annapolis…

Read More

Changes affecting federally regulated employers

June 10, 2024

By Killian McParland and Sophie Poulos There have been many changes in recent months affecting employers governed by federal labour and employment laws. In September 2024, Stewart McKelvey will be hosting a webinar to review…

Read More

Impending changes to Nova Scotia’s Workers’ Compensation Act – Gradual onset stress

June 4, 2024

By Mark Tector and Annie Gray What’s changing? Currently, workers’ compensation coverage in Nova Scotia applies to only a narrow subset of psychological injuries. Specifically, in Nova Scotia – as in all Atlantic Provinces –…

Read More

Appeal Courts uphold substantial costs awards for regulators

May 22, 2024

By Sean Kelly & Michiko Gartshore Professional regulators can incur substantial costs through discipline processes. These costs are often associated with investigations, hearings as well as committee member expenses and are an unfortunate by-product of…

Read More

Less than two weeks to go … Canada Supply Chain Transparency Reports are due May 31st

May 21, 2024

By Christine Pound, ICD.D., Twila Reid, ICD.D., Sarah Dever Letson, CIPP/C, Sheila Mecking, Hilary Newman, and Daniel Roth Introduction The first reports under the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act (the…

Read More

Court upheld municipality’s refusal to disclose investigation report

May 1, 2024

By Sheila Mecking and Sarah Dever Letson A recent decision out of the Court of King’s Bench of New Brunswick,[1] upheld the Municipality of Tantramar’s decision to withhold a Workplace Assessment Report under section 20(1)…

Read More

Occupational Health and Safety sentencing decision – Nova Scotia

April 29, 2024

By Sean Kelly & Tiegan Scott Earlier this month, the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia issued its sentencing decision in R v The Brick Warehouse LP, 2024 NSPC 26, imposing a monetary penalty of $143,750 (i.e.,…

Read More

Canada 2024 Federal Budget paves the way for Open Banking

April 22, 2024

By Kevin Landry On April 15, 2024, the Canadian federal budget was released. Connected to the budget was an explanation of the framework for Canada’s proposed implementation of Open Banking (sometimes called consumer-driven banking). This follows…

Read More

Reset for renewables: Nova Scotia overhauls energy regulation and governance in advance of influx of renewable energy

April 5, 2024

By Nancy Rubin and James Gamblin The Government of Nova Scotia has embarked on a path to dramatically reshape the regulation and governance of the energy sector with the passage of Bill 404, the Energy…

Read More

Search Archive


Scroll To Top