À défaut d’allégations spécifiques de faute de la part du courtier d’assurances, ce dernier ne peut être tenu responsable du défaut de l’assureur de couvrir un sinistre
Par Karim Renno, Irving Mitchell Kalichman s.e.n.c.r.l.
par Karim Renno
Irving Mitchell Kalichman s.e.n.c.r.l.
Il est commun et tout à fait acceptable légalement pour un demandeur qui poursuit la partie qu’il allègue lui a causé préjudice de poursuivre également immédiatement l’assureur de cette partie. Mais ce demandeur peut-il également poursuivre le courtier d’assurance. C’est la question à laquelle devait répondre la Cour dans Côte St-Luc (City of) c. Aon Parizeau Inc. (2012 QCCQ 2722).
Dans cette affaire, la Demanderesse recherche une condamnation de 13 986,34$ représentant le coût allégué de réparation d’une conduite d’eau. Celle-ci aurait été abîmée par la Défenderesse lors de travaux de réfection de la route. La Demanderesse poursuit également l’assureur de la Défenderesse et son courtier d’assurance.
Le courtier dépose une requête en rejet, alléguant l’absence de lien de droit. L’Honorable juge David L. Cameron est saisi de cette requête. Il indique qu’en l’absence d’allégations spécifiques de faute de sa part, la responsabilité du courtier ne peut être retenue. Aucune telle allégation n’est faite en l’instance, se sorte que la requête en rejet doit être accueillie:
 When a Plaintiff sues a party allegedly responsible for causing prejudice and that party’s liability insurers, there is normally no reason to include among the Defendants the insured party’s insurance broker whose role is that of an intermediary.
 The City points out that in this case, Aon was a broker acting in a contract for professional services with the City and it wishes to prove that the services it obtained in the management of the claim were insufficient.
 Indemnipro, a claims adjuster hired on behalf of the insurer faces similar criticism in that it did not act appropriately in the manner in which it investigated the claim.
 Assuming, at this stage, that the broker and the claims adjuster are at fault, either contractually or extra-contractually towards the City because of the manner in which they acted after the claim was notified, there is no prejudice asserted with respect to this fault nor any causal relationship to the costs of the repairs.
 If the Plaintiff is successful in its action, it will recover these costs from DJL as well as from Royal & Sunalliance.
 The manner in which the broker and the claims adjuster acted has no impact, at least none that is alleged, that would relate to the damages, in whole or in part.
 In answer to this argument, the City maintains that its entitlement to taxable costs, interest and additional indemnity result from the fact that the case was not settled in a prompt manner which led to the necessity to institute legal proceedings and to a delay in payment.
 With respect, the Court disagrees. Moratory damages for the late payment of a debt consist in interest to which the Court can add the additional indemnity which it routinely does except perhaps in where a case where the Plaintiff’s own conduct has resulted in the proceedings being delayed.
 The judicial costs of legal proceedings are borne by the losing party, taxed according to the tariff.
 If the broker or the claims adjuster had any impact on the decision of DJL and its insurers not to settle the loss promptly, as the City suggests, this does not make them solidary in the amount of the claim and its accessories, such as interest and additional indemnity and judicial costs.
 The idea of adding the broker and the claims adjuster as Defendants, so that they can succumb to costs, interest and indemnity, without being liable for the claim itself, is erroneous.
 If these Defendants are not responsible for the loss, there is no cause of action against them and, therefore, they cannot be solidary in an obligation to bear the costs of the proceedings or pay interest.
 Sometimes actions are brought against brokers and other intermediaries and professionals in the insurance industry simply as an added means of pressure. Usually such claims are simply a nuisance on the insurer.
 There may be circumstances where an insurance broker or claims adjuster active in a claim file commits a fault resulting in prejudice, so there may be certain exceptional cases where such parties may be added as additional Defendants, or named in another suit.
 This is not one of those extraordinary cases and there is no reason, at least none alleged, that could lead to these Defendants being liable, solidarily or in solidum with the contractor and its liability insurer, for the damages allegedly flowing from the unfortunate incident.
Le texte intégral du jugement est disponible ici: http://bit.ly/JocaML
Référence neutre:  CRL 165