Insurer Hit With $30,000 in Damages for “Mental Distress” For Wrongfully Denying Insurance Benefits
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, finding an insurance company in breach of contract and ordering them to pay, in addition to wrongfully withheld benefits, damages for “mental distress”.
In today’s case (Gascoigne v. Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company) the Plaintiff was insured with the Defendant. She became disabled in her own occupation and sought benefits. The Defendant initially approved the plaintiff’s claim and paid LTD benefits for a short period but later took “the position that the plaintiff is not disabled and it has refused to pay further benefits.“.
The Plaintiff produced medical evidence in support of her claim. The Defendant did not have any independent medical exams contradicting this evidence and instead relied on a medical consultant whose evidence the Court criticized as amounting “to little more than generic opinions unsupported by the evidence”.
In ordering that the Defendant pay damages for ‘mental distress’ for wrongfully denying insurance benefits Mr. Justice Skolrood provided the following reasons: