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Think twice about making false statements to insurers, there may be consequences!

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Civil and commercial litigation

Context

Eric, from St-Jerome, writes:

"My buddy John suffered a break-in at his home. Not only was his apartment door open, but he realized he was missing over $ 2 000 worth of jewelry, a 52-inch TV, a microwave oven and about $ 500 cash in a jar. In addition, the door lock had been forced. Criminal accusations were brought forth leading to an arrest. The accused will be appearing in court shortly.

John had subscribed to an insurance policy for personal property. He completed a written statement with a claims adjuster from his insurance company. In addition, John completed a survey of damage, which essentially repeated the items reported to the police.

However, John added to the claim a MacBook laptop computer and its case. He said he paid $ 3,500 for them in 2013. As for the vandalism on the lock, the cost of repairs amounted to $100.

When the claims adjuster completed his investigation, he notified John’s insurer that he received a written statement signed under oath from a lady who claimed to have bought the said computer the year prior, for $ 500, complaining that she greatly regretted it, as it was defective.

In the event where John has actually lied, what is the impact on his insurance claim?"

The Risks of Making a False Statement

Dear Eric,

Under section 2472 of the Civil Code of Quebec, "any deceitful representation entails the loss of the right of the person making it to any indemnity in respect of the risk to which the representation relates".

In this case, the risk being theft, in John’s situation, he would thereby not be entitled to any other compensation than that of the lock, more specifically $ 100, which is part of a different claim, being vandalism. In other words, his lie about something not stolen cost him the compensation he would otherwise have received for everything that was actually stolen. He not only did not get the extra $ 3500 he tried to take from the insurance company, he receives nothing for the items actually taken by thieves. Further, his insurer may now wish to cancel his insurance.

Sonia Rotondo, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier Avocats Inc.

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