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Construction defects: Property damage? Accident?

Publication date: November 30, 2010 | Last update: April 27, 2020

This summary does not constitute a legal opinion. The information it contains may not reflect the current state of the law.

The context
The Supreme Court looked at an insurer’s duty to defend its client, a general contractor that had built four buildings and was being sued by the owner for construction defects.

The owner of the buildings was alleging construction defects in the building shell, which supposedly caused major damage due to water infiltration.

Progressive, whose liability insurer, Lombard, had denied it coverage on the ground that this was not a claim for property damage due to an occurrence or an accident under the terms of the policy, had applied to the courts for a declaration that its insurer owed it a duty to defend.

The lower courts of British Columbia held that the insurer did not have a duty to defend its insured. The Supreme Court overturned those judgments.