Knowledge Centre

Presumptive evidence of the insured’s involvement in the theft of his car: What burden lies on the insurer?

December 2013 Stein Monast LLP, Quebec

Barrette v. Union canadienne (L’), compagnie d’assurances, 2013 QCCA 1687

Barrette owned a car and had insured it with the respondent, l’Union Canadienne. When he came home from a trip, he found his car had been stolen, abandoned, and set on fire. The insurer denied coverage, alleging that the insured had been complicit in the theft.

The insured then sued his insurer, notably to recuperate the value of his car. The Superior Court found in favour of the insurer, deeming that it had proven, on the balance of probabilities, that Barrette had committed an intentional fault by participating in the disappearance of his car. The Court of Appeal overturned this decision, finding that the trial judge had erred in applying the presumptive evidence.

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