Malloy v Intact Insurance Company, 2019 NSSC 131

In the case of Malloy v. Intact Insurance, the Plaintiff Ms. Malloy was being denied reimbursement for a medical procedure by the defendant Intact Insurance. As a result, the Plaintiff, started a legal action claiming improper denial of the benefits and breach of good faith. The issue before the court was whether Intact was required to provide policies, procedures, guidelines and other documents pertaining to how Intact handles accident benefit claims, as requested by the Plaintiff and her counsel. The court specifically defined the issue as “whether the pleadings contain specific allegations which would amount to bad faith on the part of Intact and to which the material sought is relevant?”

A document is relevant if it has probative value regarding the claim. Ms. Malloy has claimed a breach of good faith, the test for which has been established to be if the denial of the claim was a result of “overwhelmingly inadequate handling of the claim, or the introduction of improper considerations into the claims process.” The plaintiff’s lawyer argued that to establish bad faith, Intact’s conduct in handling Ms. Malloy’s claim must be compared to their policies and procedures, requiring disclosure of the requested documents.

The court found that despite the fact the statement of claim makes no direct claims in respect of internal policies and procedures, these documents would qualify as evidence as to whether Intact acted reasonably in handling Ms. Malloy’s claim.  Thus, Justice Campbell held that they should be disclosed to the Plaintiff. However, it is important to note that bald assertions of bad faith using boiler plate language and lacking any detail will not be enough to require disclosure of internal documents.

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