Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company v. Mariette Émond and Victor Foisy, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Insurance – Whether indictable offence that originates in hybrid offence falls within first paragraph of art. 2402 C.C.Q. – Whether accidental death in question occurred while deceased was participating in indictable offence – Civil Code of Québec, CQLR c. C-1991, art. 2402.

On July 7, 2009, the applicant issued an accident insurance contract in the name of the late Sébastien Foisy, which provided, inter alia, for the payment of $56,000 if he died as a result of an accident. The succession of the late Sébastien Foisy, namely his legal heirs, was the beneficiary of that payment. The day after the insurance contract was issued, the late Sébastien Foisy was intercepted while riding his motorcycle alone at a speed exceeding the speed limit. This was followed by a high speed police chase over about 20 kilometres in residential and rural areas, which ultimately ended with the death of the late Sébastien Foisy, the respondents’ son or brother, as the case may be. During the chase, the police officer lost control of his vehicle in the same place where the late Sébastien Foisy had himself already lost control of his motorcycle. The police car left the road and struck the late Sébastien Foisy, who was then cared for by paramedics, who took him to the hospital, where he died less than an hour later.

The accident insurance contract contained an exclusion clause stating that there was no entitlement to payment under the contract [TRANSLATION] “if the accident occurs while the insured is participating in any indictable offence or any act related thereto”. The applicant relied on that clause to support its refusal to pay the indemnity to the succession of the late Sébastien Foisy.