The Cassels publication “COVID-19 Impact: Business Interruption Insurance Issues,” authored by Laurie LaPalme and Arthur Hamilton, has been quoted in the article “Does the Coronavirus Equate to “Physical” Property Damage for Business Interruption Claims?” published by Insurance Business Canada.
Writes Bethan Moorcraft: “Business interruption insurance is arguably the most hotly debated topic in insurance right now. Business owners across Canada are all asking the same question – will my insurance policy cover forced business closure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic? More often than not, the answer is ‘no.'”
The article goes on to say that: “A decision handed down in March by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in MDS Inc. v. Factory Mutual Insurance Company [2020 ONSC 1924], sparked a glimmer of hope in some circles about the possibility of coverage for business interruption arising from COVID-19.”
However, Laurie and Arthur cautioned against this thinking in their recent publication, writing: “A careful read of the MDS Inc. decision indicates that those commentaries, to the extent they attempt to draw a parallel between the MDS Inc. decision and the current COVID-19 pandemic, have overstated the court’s ruling…. The facts giving rise to the MDS Inc. decision occurred more than a decade ago, when an unanticipated leak of heavy water caused a shutdown of a nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ontario. MDS Inc. is not a case that resulted from or in any way addresses the COVID-19 pandemic or its impacts. The determinations of the trial judge are fact-specific, and result from the court’s analysis of nine separate experts’ reports and the evaluation of the work and opinion of an additional court-appointed expert. The specific language of the worldwide All-Risks policy on which MDS Inc. relied, which the court determined contained ambiguities, is central to the various determinations the court reached.”