H&M 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

Property Insurance


Halfnight & McKinlay has been a leader in the highly-specialized field of property insurance disputes for many years, dating from our early focus on commercial insurance cases. Few, if any, firms have had the quantity and quality of work in this field to develop expertise and a track record comparable to ours. The following areas of advice and representation form a significant part of our professional practice:


First-party coverage issues:  We provide our clients with guidance and representation on the wide variety of coverage disputes that can arise under all-risks and named-perils coverages, often involving the scope and application of exclusions. Our expertise in, and understanding of, the coverage and underwriting in this field, is an invaluable asset for this work.


Misrepresentation and change material to the risk:  Voiding of coverage is an essential tool to protect the integrity of the underwriting process. However, because of the difficulties inherent in these issues, insurers lacking in expert guidance in the investigation into and assessment of circumstances involving such breaches on the part of insureds often fail to recognize their own entitlement to void coverage, or mishandle the exercise of that right. Our firm has developed an enviable reputation for considered advice in this regard, providing practical and sustainable courses of action for our clients. 


Breach of condition:  The degree to which an insurer can rely on breach of condition by an insured is rarely a simple issue, yet the extensive policy requirements for cooperation and proper proof of loss by the insured under property coverages make this an important area for legal advice. Our clients benefit from the experience we have in evaluating cases giving rise to such issues.


Fraud and arson:  A distinct area of expertise in and of itself, the legal guidance required for a proper and successful investigation of claims raising fraud and arson issues has been in great demand in recent years. Nowhere is Halfnight & McKinlay's reputation for skilled and highly-professional representation more greatly-valued by our clients than in these high-profile endeavours. Such cases as Torchia v. Royal & Sun Alliance (2003, Ont. C.A.) and Alavie v. Chubb Insurance Company of Canada (2005, Ont. C.A.) have cemented our leading position in this field.


Boiler and machinery:  A highly-specialized coverage, boiler and machinery policies present technically sophisticated problems of the sort we have focused on for years. The overlap of issues with property coverage is another area of commercial insurance where our firm has made its mark (Stelco Inc. v. Royal Insurance, 1997, Ont. C.A.).


Valuation and damages: Many cases are won or lost on the handling of the valuation of the loss or the litigating of the damages. Expertise on the law governing appraisals, as well as experience in marshalling the evidence (often expert) necessary to deal with damages, Halfnight & McKinlay excels in such work on quantum issues which often makes a crucial difference to the result achieved by our insurance clients.


Subrogation:  Our firm has long been a leader in the handling of more complex recovery actions for insurers seeking to recoup payouts from the responsible third parties. Our reputation for careful preparation at the outset and aggressive pursuit of claims through litigation, or subrogation has produced impressive results in recovery endeavours.