Insurance in Canada
Recognized as one of the most well-balanced insurance practices in the market, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP has strong skill sets in regulatory, transactional and contentious insurance matters. On the regulatory front, financial services lead Paul Belanger is routinely engaged by insurance companies to advise on governance and product development issues. Dawn Jetten, another senior member of the financial service regulatory practice, is also a popular choice for regulatory concerns. Up-and-coming corporate and commercial partner Jake Gilbert is noted for his experience in transactional support matters, which recently included advising Chicago-headquartered Hub International on its acquisition of Toronto-based Proteus Performance Management. On the contentious side, Calgary-based litigator David Tupper is sought after for high-stakes coverage disputes, including environmental and construction cases. Named lawyers are based in Toronto unless otherwise stated.
HUB International Limited
Insurance Bureau of Canada
Intact Financial Corporation
Standard Life plc
- Acted for HUB International on the acquisition of Proteus Performance Management.
- Advised Insurance Bureau of Canada, as intervener, in a case looking to contest the constitutionality of the Ontario Insurance Act.
- Acted for VRG Capital (a significant shareholder in Jones Brown) and Jones Brown on the sale of Jones Brown to a strategic investor.
Fasken’s specialist insurance practice is especially standout on the regulatory and transactional fronts, where it is well versed in an array of M&A-related matters, policy work and product development. A top choice for both domestic and foreign insurers, the group enjoys strong relationships with property and casualty insurers (Intact, Travellers), life insurance companies (Manulife, Foresters) and major global giants (Aviva, Swiss Re). Robert McDowell ranks among the leading insurance specialists in the market and advises across the spectrum of regulatory, governance and transactional matters. Koker Christensen, who co-chairs the financial institutions group alongside McDowell, is also highly regarded for his high-level transactional and regulatory experience. On the contentious side, Peter Pliszka is noted for his focus on product liability, class actions and insurance litigation. Named lawyers are based in Toronto.
‘Fasken is extremely responsive to our work turnaround requests. Moreover, they want us to be extremely happy with their level of service so they will never quibble about their charges.’
‘Fasken provides great value-add services such as seminars and training. It is very apparent Fasken value our relationship. They make us feel like we are their most important client.’
‘Koker Christensen and Robert McDowell are exceptional lawyers with first-class experience of OSFI insurance regulation.’
The Co-operators Group Limited
Independent Order of Foresters
Caisse Centrale de Réassurance (CCR)
- Acted for Co-operators Life Insurance Company on the C$580m purchase from Central 1 Credit Union of the minority interest in CUMIS Group, which owns two insurance company subsidiaries.
- Advised The Travelers Companies on its acquisition of a majority stake in Canadian fintech, Zensurance.
- Advised the Reinsurance Research Council, which is composed of leading reinsurers operating in Canada, on developing a response to significant proposed amendments to Canada’s reinsurance regulatory regime by OSFI.
Torys LLP’s highly regarded regulatory practice is matched by the firm’s top-tier offerings in litigation, and corporate and M&A, marking the group as a leader in all aspects of insurance law. On the non-contentious front, Blair Keefe is widely considered as a go-to expert in corporate and regulatory matters; he provides ongoing advice to Manulife and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada on new products and services offerings. Jill McCutcheon is also rated for regulatory and transactional work and has notable experience in the property and casualty, life and reinsurance spheres. David Outerbridge leads the insurance litigation practice and is noted for his record in construction, energy, product liability and environmental claims; he recently represented Brewers Retail in a coverage dispute with its property insurer over environmental contamination. Named lawyers are based in Toronto.
‘The team demonstrates superior intelligence and expertise, is exceptionally personable, and has a strong ability to ensure understanding on customer level. Provides incredible support — service and advice received are well beyond expectations.’
‘Their expertise around insurance market conduct matters and regulatory matters is unmatched. Very knowledgeable and expert and experienced.’
‘Torys has an extremely strong insurance practice, covering virtually all aspects of the industry. The stand-out distinguishing lawyer is Blair Keefe, whose expertise in regulatory matters is unrivalled, but he is complemented by a very skilled team with top-notch capabilities across the board.’
The Manufacturer’s Life Insurance Company
Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
Industrial Alliance Investment Management Inc.
Morguard Investments Limited/Morguard REIT
Manulife Financial Corporation
SmartCentres Management Inc.
Ivari (formerly TransAmerica)
TD Meloche Monnex
Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company
Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.
- Represented Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services in a dispute over the proper interpretation of a subset of its universal life insurance policies.
- Provided day-to-day regulatory advice to Manulife regarding products and service offerings permitted under the Insurance Companies Act.
- Advised Cigna, as Canadian regulatory counsel, on its proposed $67bn acquisition of Express Scripts Holding Company.
A strong performer in the transactional space, McCarthy Tétrault is consistently engaged by domestic and international insurers to advise on all aspects of M&A, capital raising and financing mandates. The group’s prolific deal activity is underpinned by its robust regulatory expertise, which draws upon strong provincial offerings in Ontario and Quebec. Led from Toronto by regulatory and transactional expert Nancy Carroll, the non-contentious side of the practice also draws on the experience of Montreal-based financial services specialist Sonia Struthers. Toronto-based litigator William Scott is recommended for insurance litigation.
‘They took the time to become familiar with the company’s operations, goals and objectives before providing their advice. This assisted me in advising senior management on legal strategy in a way which made business sense to the leadership.’
‘Broad-based expertise in insurance law; experience in working for insurance companies as well as distribution (market conduct); well connected with federal and provincial regulators; expertise stretches from life insurance to property & casualty insurance; well-known for demutualization.’
‘They are very skilled in the financial services realm, especially with respect to the Insurance Company’s Act. They are skilled negotiators under challenging circumstances with difficult opponents.’
‘Nancy Carroll provides valuable insights into the insurance industry and provincial and federal regulators, in particular OSFI. As a forward-looking lawyer, Nancy keeps up with industry trends.’
‘Nancy Carroll is able to keep a complex and challenging project on track. We were able to achieve results that otherwise might not have been possible.’
iA Financial Group
Desjardins Financial Group
Canada Life Assurance Company
Sun Life Financial Inc.
The Great-West Life Assurance Company; London Life Insurance Company
E-L Financial Services; Empire Life Insurance Company
Mutual Policyholders of Economical Mutual Insurance Company
Munich Re Life; Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada
La Capitale Financial Group
Pacific Life Re Limited
SSQ Financial Group
- Advised Eligible Mutual Policyholders of Economical Mutual Insurance Company on the demutualization of Economical, the first demutualization of a property and casualty insurer in Canadian history.
- Advised Pacific Life Re on a range of day-to-day regulatory matters.
- Advised SSQ Insurance on its C$150m financing from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP’s national practice handles non-contentious work and insurance litigation, and is consistently engaged by Canadian and international insurers and reinsurers, underwriters and brokers to advise on complex insurance matters. On the non-contentious side, Toronto-based Stuart Carruthers stands out as a leading name for his strong record in transactional and regulatory issues, while contacts for contentious matters include Montreal-based Laurent Fortier, who focuses on insurance disputes in the construction, energy and transportation areas. Peter Cullen, also based in Montreal, is also noted for his specialist expertise in shipping-related matters.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP distinguishes itself by its robust insurance litigation expertise, routinely acting for insurers, reinsurers, brokers and self-insured clients on a litany of contentious matters. The group provides comprehensive sector coverage of all key areas of liability, but remains best known for its strength in the manufacturing, health care and municipal areas. Ottawa-based Larry Elliot heads the insurance and tort liability group, and Donna Spagnolo is a key contact on the corporate and regulatory front.
- Represented Marsh in a $22m claim brought by National Industries (a rail car manufacturer based in Hamilton).
- Represented GMH Architects in five related actions involving multiple roof collapses at a shopping centre in Alberta.
- Acting for two Lloyd’s syndicates in a class action claim by residents of West Saint John for damages to their properties, and other economic loss claims, resulting from a change in water source supply from soft lake water to hard well water.
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s sizeable corporate and regulatory insurance law practice has specialist expertise in governance issues, corporate and commercial transactions and general compliance matters. Toronto-based Brian Reeve is widely recognized as a market leader and counts life insurance companies, property and casualty insurance companies and reinsurers among his clients. The team also handles product liability matters.
Gowling WLG fields a full-service insurance offering, which is particularly concentrated in its Toronto and Calgary offices. Toronto-based Filomena Frisina, who leads the financial services regulatory group, is the key contact for non-contentious work and is highly regarded for her high-level M&A experience. In Calgary, Taryn Burnett leads the insurance and professional liability group and has a strong focus on professional liability cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘Issues and legal requirements can be complex, and vary tremendously from one provincial jurisdiction to the next. The team at Gowling WLG not only understand the legal issues but have taken the time to listen and learn about operational challenges, helping in implementing compliant programs.’
‘This firm is proactive. They get assigned our complex files, or files with difficult counsel because Gowling WLG lawyers are professionals and their files are overseen by senior counsel to ensure adherence to our litigation best practices.’
Siemens Canada and HDI Global SE Canada Branch
Skipthedishes Restaurant Services Inc.
Hudye Group Inc.
Sodexo Canada Ltd. and HDI Global SE Canada Branch
A.H. Stucco Ltd. and Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company
Keyera Corporation/QBE Services Inc.
- Represented Siemens Canada in a claim brought by Canfor Pulp LP in the Supreme Court of British Columbia for damages arising from a fire at the Canfor pulp and paper mill.
- Advised Sodexo Canada on a claim against King Coating Roofing relating to a fire at a five-story office tower in Burlington, where Sodexo’s Canadian head office is located.
- Represented Keyera Corporation in a claim brought by Alliance Pipeline Limited Partnership arising from the incursion of sour gas into the Alliance Pipeline from the Keyera gas plant.
Clyde & Co LLP
The Canadian arm of global insurance firm Clyde & Co LLP continues to grow its insurance litigation presence nationally, anchored by dominant platforms in Montreal and Toronto. The group handles all aspects of insurance defence and coverage, with strong showings in product liability, personal injury and construction. A key figure is John Nicholl Ad E, who divides his practice between Montreal and Toronto.
Litigation boutique Lenczner Slaght is a strong performer in contentious insurance mandates. The team handles the full scope of policy, coverage and defence cases, with expertise in class action defence, disputed directors’ and officers’ liability, environmental claims, product liability and professional negligence. A key figure in the practice group is Glenn Smith, who focuses on product liability and complex insurance litigation.
ACE INA Insurance/CHUBB
General Electric Canada
Stewart Title Guaranty Company – Canada Division
Government of Ontario
Export Development Canada (Government of Canada)
Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO)
Canadian Lawyers Liability Assurance Society (CLLAS)
Bank of Montreal
Gifford Associates: Ottawa Insurance Brokers
Northbridge Insurance (Formerly Lombard Insurance)
Electric Insurance Company
Canadian Lawyers Liability Assurance Society (AXXIMA)
- Represented EllisDon in a complex insurance coverage claim issued against multiple primary and excess insurers including Zurich Insurance Company, QBE Insurance (Europe), AIG Canada and Aviva Insurance.
- Represented Dentons in an application for coverage under a fidelity and cyber-insurance bond for a computer fraud perpetrated on our client.
- Represented General Electric Canada in a claim for environmental investigation and clean-up costs of legacy contamination at two sites under historical insurance policies.
McMillan LLP houses a solid non-contentious insurance practice, which sits in the firm’s wider banking, finance and insurance practice group. The team handles the full spread of regulatory and transactional matters, from incorporation and corporate governance issues, to M&A and corporate reorganizations. Toronto-based Gerald Badali is recommended for product development and regulatory compliance matters.
Norton Rose Fulbright’s increasingly prominent insurance litigation practice handles a broad range of matters nationally, with notable expertise in the marine, construction and professional liability sectors. André Legrand in Montreal, and Calgary-based up-and-coming partner Lara Mason have particular experience in professional liability matters.
‘We have had a great relationship with this firm. They are client-oriented, the work is done on time, they often offer unique options in approaching claims. Their billing practices are fair.’
‘Lara Mason in the Calgary office has been a fantastic find for our legal team. she is professional with just the right amount firmness in dealing with our claims. She is thorough and makes sure we have all of our bases covered.’
Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange
QBE Services Inc.
AIG Insurance Company of Canada
Fonds d’assurance responsabilité professionnelle du Barreau Québec
Berkshire Hathaway Services
Intact Insurance Company
La Mutuelle des municipalités du Québec
Liberty International Underwriters
Chubb Insurance Company of Canada
BFL Canada Risk and Insurance Inc.
Berkley Canada Inc.
Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company
ENCON Group Inc.
Shipowners P&I Club
CPA Professional Liability Plan Inc.
Marsh Canada Inc.
Great American Insurance Company
iA Financial Group
AVIVA Canada Inc.
North of England Property and Indemnity Association
- Retained by the Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange to defend the University of Ottawa in a C$210m class action claim concerning allegations of historical and recent sexual abuse by a physician at a clinic operated by University of Ottawa Health Services.
- Acted for Lloyd’s, and its insured Groupe EGP, in the context of a large litigation claim related to the construction of the Altoria skyscraper in Montreal.
- Acted on behalf of the Mutuelle des municipalités du Québec, an insurer for municipalities in Quebec, and its insured, the Municipality of Sainte-Julienne, in a claim before the Quebec Superior Court against heating and ventilation company, Lysair.