The Court of Appeal recently affirmed a lower court decision on the OPCF44R.
In Van Bastelaar v. Bentley,  O.J. No. 4666 (C.A.), the plaintiffs were concerned that the defendant's $1,000,000 policy would be apportioned between four injured parties and there would be a shortfall. As a result, they added their own insurer pursuant to the inadequately insured motorist provisions of their policy. Their policy had a Family Protection Endorsement with limits of $1,000,000. The key provision read as follows:
The insurer's maximum liability under this change form, regardless of the number of eligible claimants or insured persons injured or killed or the number of automobiles insured under the Policy, is the amount by which the limit of family protection coverage exceeds the total of all limits of motor vehicle liability insurance, or bonds, or cash deposits, or other financial guarantees as required by law in lieu of such insurance, of the inadequately insured motorist and of any person any person jointly liable with that motorist.
The motions judge held that "An underinsurer's obligation to pay does not arise until the total amount of insurance held by the tortfeasor at the moment of the accident is less than the family protection coverage liability limit." He concluded that since "the policies of the parties are unevenly matched, so therefore, the underinsurer had no exposure to liability".
The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision.
- Tara Pollitt