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Covers 14 important Canadian legal cases. The reading is difficult because it's in legalese, but all is not lost...start by googling the cases - they are all well-known and you'll find summaries written in plain English. Note the changes in the Fall.2018 syllabus: One Case Removed: British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. Two Cases Added: Belanger v. Sudbury and Precision Plating Ltd. v. Axa Pacific Insurance Co. (BattleActs has been updated to reflect these changes, so you don't have to expend any brainpower thinking about it!)   Forum

Pop Quiz

There are actually 4 syllabus readings, (including this one, Landmark Legal Insurance Cases in Canada), that contain legal precedents. What are the other 3 syllabus readings that contain legal precedents?


Based on past exams, the main things you need to know (in rough order of importance) are:

  • cases related to an insurer's duty-defend
  • cases related to catastrophic injury
  • facts/issues/rulings for all legal cases in Landmark Legal
  • facts/issues/rulings for all legal cases in papers other than Landmark Legal
Use BattleHack #3 - Legal Cases (also available from the BattlePlan page in main part of website) for a full list of legal cases across all readings as well as your scores out of 10.0 for each case.
reference part (a) part (b) part (c) part (d)
E (2018.Spring #5) Amos v ICBC
- coverage issues
Hughes v Economical:
- credit 1
E (2017.Fall #3) PIPEDA
- credit
E (2017.Fall #4) Sansalone v Wawanesa
- duty-to-defend
E (2017.Spring #4) Somersall v Scottish & York
- subrogation
E (2016.Fall #5) Aviva v Pastore
- catastrophic injury
Aviva v Pastore
- class 4 impairment
Aviva v Pastore
- appeal
E (2016.Spring #5) Aviva v Pastore
- catastrophic injury
Kusnierz v Economical
- catastrophic injury
E (2016.Spring #6) Morrow v Zhang
- minor injury caps
E (2015.Fall #4) PIPEDA
- credit score
KP Pacific v Guardian
- multi-peril policies
Nichols v American Home Assurance
- duty-to-defend
E (2015.Spring #8) Sansalone v Wawanesa
- majority reasoning
Sansalone v Wawanesa
- minority reasoning
E (2014.Fall #6) punitive damages
- purpose
Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co
- proportionality
Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co
- dimensions
E (2014.Spring #2) Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co
- proportionality
Whiten v Pilot Insurance Co
- dimensions
E (2014.Spring #3) Resurfice Corp v Hanke
- 'but for' test
Resurfice Corp v Hanke
- rulings
Resurfice Corp v Hanke
- Supreme Court
Resurfice Corp v Hanke
- material contribution
E (2013.Fall #2) Duty-to-Defend
- 2 cases
E (2013.Fall #4) OUTDATED
- BC v Imperial Tobacco
E (2012.Fall #8) Amos v ICBC
- purpose, causality tests
Amos v ICBC
- issues
Amos v ICBC
- ruling
Amos v ICBC
- applicability to Ontario
E (2012.Fall #9) Morrow v Zhang
- minor injury caps
Morrow v Zhang
- issues
Morrow v Zhang
- rulings
1 This case was from an article in the Canadian Underwriter. It was removed from the syllabus for the Fall.2018 exam.

In Plain English!


This reading contains valuable information but is poorly presented. We're actuaries, not lawyers! This reading is an information dump of legal briefs without any guidance on how to make sense of them. My personal approach was to invent my own way of conceptualizing the essential information.

Basic Conceptualization

I've organized each case into Facts, Issues, & Rulings. This is demonstrated below with the case Whiten v Pilot Ins Co.

Facts: family house burns down | insurer pays for temporary shelter then ceases payments | insurer claims they aren't liable due to arson (but has no evidence)
Issues: did Pilot Ins use the power imbalance to force insured into a smaller settlement?
Rulings 1,2,3: jury awards 1m punitive | ON appeals court reduces to 100K | Supreme Court restores 1m

Note that the '1,2,3' indicates that this case had 3 separate rulings: (the initial trial, 1st appeal, Supreme Court appeal). Some cases are settled just with the initial trial; others with an initial trial and appeal.

Case-Specific Information

Some cases have relevant information that doesn't fit into the Facts, Issues, Ruling structure. (defns, other details, etc...) For Whiten v Pilot, there are 2 additional items:

Details-general: awards of this type should consider PROPORTIONALITY along several DIMENSIONS
Details-dimensions: BVH-DPL
  • Blameworthiness of insurer
  • Vulnerability of victim
  • Harm to victim
  • Deterrence to insurer
  • consider other Penalties insurer may have incurred
  • punitive award should not been seen by the insurer as a "License" (no financial gain for insurer)


Once you've memorized the BattleCards for these 13 cases, there are higher-level meta-questions you should be able to answer. These include:

Question: which cases went to the Supreme Court? [Hint: Z-SWAN(KP): (Z-SWAN is the way my Dad, who had a thick German accent, would pronounce "The" Swan! The (KP) part is just stuck on the end because I couldn't make a word out of it.)
Zamboni case: Resurfice Corp v Hanke (This is the ZAMBONI case - the one where that dumb-ass Hanke poured gas in the zamboni's water tank.)
Somersall v York
Whiten v Pilot Ins Co
Amos v ICBC
Nichols v American Home
(KP) Pacific v Guardian
Question: given a particular issue, can cite the relevant case(s)
Ex: Which cases relate to an insurer's duty to defend?
PRIMARY insurer: (Sansalone v Wawanesa | Nichols v American Home | Precision Plating v Axa Pacific Insurance)
EXCESS insurer: (Alie v Bertrand Frere construction)
Ex: Which cases deal with catastrophic injuries as their main issue?
  • Aviva v Pastore | Kusnierz v Economical
  • Note that Belanger v Sudbury involves a catastrophic injury but that is not the main issue in the case (it's about standard of care)

1-Phrase Summaries

Each of the cases can be encapsulated with just 1 phrase. When you can recall each case based just on the given phrase, THEN you really know your s**t.    :-)

Case Name 1-phrase Summary Fun Fact :-)
1 Whiten v Pilot Ins Co proportionality Insured wins
2 Somersall v Scottish & York subrogation Insured wins
3 Sansalone v Wawanesa duty-to-defend versus duty-to-indemnify (sexual abuse) Insurer wins
4 Nichols v American Home Assurance duty-to-defend versus duty-to-indemnify (fraud) Insurer wins
5 Amos v ICBC purpose test, causality test Insured wins
6 KP Pacific v Guardian multi-peril policies Insured wins
7 Alie v Bertrand Frere Construction duty-to-defend versus duty-to-indemnify (excess insurer) Insured wins
8 (removed) BC v Imperial Tobacco Extra-Territoriality, Judicial Independence, RULE of LAW     BC wins
9 Resurfice Corp v Hanke 'but for' test, 'material contribution' test Manufacturer wins
10 Morrow v Zhang (AB 2004) minor injury caps     AB wins
11 PIPEDA Report of Findings privacy (credit scores) privacy not violated
12 Aviva v Pastore catastrophic impairment (class 4) Insured wins
13 Kusnierz v Economical catastrophic impairment (SABS threshold) Insured wins
14 Belanger v Sudbury standard of care Insured wins
15 Precision Plating v Axa Pacific Insurance duty-to-defend (primary cause of loss) Insurer wins

I've broken these cases into 6 mini BattleQuizzes so that each is not so daunting. If you want, you can do them all at once in the Full BattleQuiz (see BattleCodes at bottom.)

mini BattleQuiz 1 Cases 1,2

mini BattleQuiz 2 Cases 3,4,7,15 (duty to defend)

mini BattleQuiz 3 Cases 5,6

mini BattleQuiz 4 Cases 9,10,11

mini BattleQuiz 5 Cases 12,13,14

mini BattleQuiz 6 miscellaneous questions



  • Facts, Issues, Rulings for all cases.


  • Exam questions often describe a legal situation then ask your opinion on the likely outcome as well as your reasoning, citing relevant precedents.
  • Make sure you clearly indicate your answer to each item! This is a common way candidates lose points.


  • None.

Expect 2-3 pts from this paper on the exam

Full BattleQuiz You must be logged in or this will not work.



The 4 syllabus readings that contain legal precedents are:

  • Baer.Intro (Baer & Rendall: Cases on the Canadian Law of Insurance) 3 cases
  • Dav.NonPec (Davidson: The Cap on Non Pecuniary General Damages) Trilogy ruling + 4 cases after the Trilogy ruling
  • Land.Cases (Landmark Legal Insurance Cases in Canada) 14 cases
  • McD.Intro (McDonald: Life Insurance Laws of Canada) 4 cases, including the famous Insurance Reference Case