In 2021, Justice Perell gave a primer on insurance appraisals in Ontario in Northbridge General Insurance Corp v Ashcroft Homes-Capital Hall Inc(1) (for further details please see "With great power comes great responsibility: Ontario court gives primer on insurance appraisals").
In a recent decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal has confirmed the lessons from that case.
Desjardins General Insurance Group v Campbell(2) confirms that the purpose of the appraisal process under the Insurance Act is to provide an easy, expeditious and cost-effective means for the settlement of valuation issues under insurance policies.
The process is intended to be collaborative. However, if the appraisers appointed by the parties cannot agree on a compromise, they appoint an umpire with the sole authority to decide. The umpire must be impartial, but the appraisers need not be. That requirement was eliminated from the Insurance Act in 1966. As such, the general practice of insurance companies to appoint their employees, and of insureds to appoint their lawyers, is perfectly fine.
Ultimately, the constraint on appraisers is practical, rather than legal: "the process creates incentives for the parties to present reasonable valuations to the umpire to maximize the prospect that theirs will be chosen".
For further information on this topic please contact Christiaan Jordaan at Theall Group LLP by telephone (+1 416 304 0115) or email ([email protected]). The Theall Group LLP website can be accessed at www.theallgroup.com.