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Canada’s new Chief Justice wrote landmark decisions against insurers


December 13, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Supreme Court of Canada Justice Richard Wagner, a judge who wrote landmark rulings against Northbridge, RSA, Sovereign General and other Canadian insurers, is now Chief Justice of Canada.

Wagner will succeed Beverly McLachlin, who retires Dec. 15 after serving for 17 years as Chief Justice and 28 years on the Supreme Court of Canada.

Wagner penned the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2016 ruling in Ledcor Construction Ltd. v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co., in which he noted that the insurers promised to cover ‘physical damage [that] results’ from that ‘faulty workmanship.'”

In Ledcor, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that insurers who wrote a policy for a construction project in Edmonton must cover the cost of replacing windows damaged by cleaning during a construction project.

The policy, written by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Chartis Insurance Company of Canada, Commonwealth Insurance Company, GCAN Insurance Company and American Home Assurance Company, excluded “the cost of making good faulty workmanship, construction materials or design unless physical damage not otherwise excluded.”

Wagner also wrote the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 ruling upholding convictions in Quebec against The Sovereign General Insurance Company, resulting in $560,000 in fines against the insurer. A Winnipeg-based broker, Flanders, was not licensed in Quebec but had placed policies for a vehicle financing firm with Sovereign General.