An Ontario court has given the green light to several class actions against a group of Canadian insurers who claim billions of dollars are owed to Canadian businesses after being denied insurance coverage against loss of business. operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Edward Belobaba cleared a class action lawsuit against 14 property and casualty insurers that offered business interruption insurance to small and large businesses, including hotel and bar owners , restaurants and lounges. The claim was filed in May 2020 by Merchant Law Group LLP and Koskie Minsky LLP, which estimate damages to be “billions of dollars” for companies that have had to shut down. The class action alleges that insurers were “unfairly enriched in the sale of business interruption insurance and did not respect the terms of these policies.”
“The certification of this important claim will allow business owners large and small to recoup the losses they have suffered as a result of the pandemic,” Kirk Baert, partner at Koskie Minsky, said in an email to Globe and Mail.
The certification last week followed a ruling last month by Judge Belobaba, which gave the green light to several class actions against Aviva Insurance Company of Canada.
The law firm Lerners LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Aviva on behalf of 625 branches of The Royal Canadian Legion and approximately 250 Ontario denturists, claiming there was a loss of business revenue at Following the mandatory closure order issued by the Province of Ontario on March 23, 2020 The matter has been fully certified.
At the same time, the law firm Thomson Rogers, along with Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP and Miller Thomson LLP, filed a class action lawsuit against Aviva on behalf of Nordik Windows Inc., an Ontario window manufacturing and installation company that had to close for several months in 2020 due to the pandemic. The case has been conditionally certified and seeks $ 300 million in damages on behalf of companies that have similar claims under Aviva’s business insurance policies, which include loss protection. business income following an outbreak of contagious or infectious disease.
Aviva denied the request last year, saying in court records that COVID-19 does not constitute an outbreak of contagious or infectious disease.
Aviva did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
The group of 14 insurers also jointly denied the claims against them, saying that coverage under the business interruption provisions of insurance policies was “not triggered by the shutdown or downsizing of the business. companies in question due to the pandemic and / or associated government orders.
The group includes: The Co-operators General Insurance Company; Wynward Insurance Group; Continental Accident Company; Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company; Mutual Economical Insurance Company; Federated Insurance Company of Canada; Northbridge General Insurance Company; The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company; Gore Mutual Insurance Company; Intact Insurance Company; Novex Insurance Company; The Dominion of Canada Company; SGI Insurance Services Canada Ltée; and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.
According to court documents, the group says the “vast majority” of insurance policies require the existence of “actual physical loss or property damage, and that the actual or suspected presence of the coronavirus on property and / or prescriptions government authorities involved do not constitute loss or physical damage.
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