Abell v. Lloyd’s

In Marine Insurance on (Updated )

The Plaintiff in this matter purchased a floating home which burned to the waterline six months after the purchase. The home was originally moored at Cowichan Bay and insurance was taken out which contained a warranty that it would be permanently moored at that location. The Plaintiff then entered into a contract to purchase a water lot in a new development and moved the home to the new development. The insurer was advised and the warranty was changed to reflect the new location. In the event, the Plaintiff’s contract to purchase the lot did not complete and the home was temporarily moored at the new location. The developer of the facility advised the Plaintiff that he was trespassing and requested that he move his home. The Plaintiff failed to do so and the developer eventually had the home moved and tied to off-shore pilings. The home was at this location when it burned. The underwriters denied coverage for breach of the moorage warranty and for failure to disclose the location of the home, a material fact. The trial Judge agreed with the underwriters that there had been a clear breach of the warranty and that the change in location to the off-shore pilings was a material fact which ought to have been brought to the attention of the underwriters. It is interesting to note that although the insurance policy was said to be a marine insurance policy the Court referred to various general provisions of the Insurance Act of British Columbia, including a relief from forfeiture provision. The Court seems to have accepted that these general provisions apply to contracts of marine insurance, which is debatable.