H&M logo link to home page
firm history practice areas firm members in the courts newsletter legal links contact us home page

     Practice Areas

 
Property Insurance
Liability Insurance
Fidelity Insurance
Construction Insurance
Professional Lines
Excess & Reinsurance
Commercial Litigation

Excess/Reinsurance, Overlapping Coverages


Our firm has acted in several of the most hotly disputed, large cases in Canada involving litigation between primary and excess insurers, as well as the special problems that arise when overlapping coverages are involved. For example, we represented the only excess insurer to be completely successful in the recent Alie v. Bertrand, Boreal litigation that went to the Ontario Court of Appeal, dealing with many significant CGL issues but, in particular, the obligation of excess insurers to contribute to defence expense. We have acted for excess insurers in the largest mining litigation in Canada, as well as inter-provincial litigation involving intra-industry disputes over an East-coast oil-rig explosion loss.


An important, but highly technical, area of insurance dispute is the resolution of issues between insurers whose coverage overlaps or where the border between coverages is unclear. We have set some of the current leading precedents in fights concerning overlapping coverages, for example between property and boiler & machinery insurers (Stelco v. Royal Insurance, 1997, Ont. C.A.), or where two policies are alleged to provide joint coverages (Trenton Cold Storage v. St. Paul Fire and Marine, 2001, Ont. C.A.).

In the specialized area of reinsurance and retrocession agreements, our firm has gained a reputation for reliable advice and guidance for clients in a non-litigation context. Usually involving large, complex underlying disputes (e.g., the Canadian branch of the tobacco litigation and insurance coverage), this practice area requires an intelligent balancing of technical analysis and practical strategy to reach negotiated compromises that will leave our clients' relationships in place for future dealings. We have been also been consulted by industry-representative bodies to draft standard wordings for widespread use by reinsurers.


Our firm acts for both insurers and reinsurers in arbitrations that are now commonly used to resolve disputes arising from reinsurance treaties. We are currently involved in one of the largest reinsurance arbitrations in Canada, a proceeding which seeks to sort out the effects of allegedly deficient reporting concerning many claims and spanning many treaty years. With state-of-the art technology to assist us in providing high-quality legal representation at cost-effective rates, we are well-equipped to handle large, protracted, disputes through the arbitral process.


Our firm's experience and reputation in these kinds of insurance problems complements our overall emphasis on commercial insurance disputes - here as part of the business of insurance and the relationships between industry members.