The Ontario Court of Appeal has set down some long-overdue standards for claims against a policy increasingly widespread – and misunderstood.
“Title insurance is probably at this point in time one of the most widely distributed insurance policies in the country,” said trial lawyer Gavin Tighe, who represented the homeowner for the appeal. “I think there’s been a major gap in the law on title insurance, given the incredibly widespread use.”
The ruling is helping to close those holes.
Tighe’s homeowner client had been ordered by municipal authorities to restore a load-bearing wall removed by the previous owner. But the Appeal court decision maintains that an existing title insurance policy can and should be used to cover the remedial work.
That sets something of a precedent for title insurers that would narrowly interpret their policies as applying to “marketable title” and infrastructure breaches centred on permitting issues.
The impact of the ruling will extend beyond title coverage to other insurance coverages, warn experts, suggesting it could loosen up the hands of claim litigators on a host of P&C policy fronts.
“I think what we are seeing is the law taking into account that general blanket rules never work,” said Tighe, “and you have to look at the particular case on its own particular merits.”