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This Act is current to May 14, 2024
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Insurance Act


Deposited with Clerk of the Legislative
Assembly on June 21, 2012

Part 1 — Interpretation, Application of Act and Introductory Provisions

Definitions and interpretation

1   In this Act:

"business authorization" means a business authorization under the Financial Institutions Act;

"contract" means a contract of insurance and includes a policy, certificate, interim receipt, renewal receipt or writing evidencing the contract, whether sealed or not, and a binding oral agreement;

"corporation" includes any incorporated company, association or society, wherever incorporated;

"insurance" means the undertaking by one person to indemnify another person against loss or liability for loss in respect of a certain risk or peril to which the object of the insurance may be exposed, or to pay a sum of money or other thing of value on the happening of a certain event;

"insurance money" means the amount payable by an insurer under a contract, and includes all benefits, surplus, profits, dividends, bonuses and annuities payable under the contract;

"insurer" means the person who undertakes, agrees or offers to undertake, a contract;

"licence" means a licence under Division 2 of Part 6 of the Financial Institutions Act;

"mutual company" has the same meaning as "mutual fire insurance company" in the Mutual Fire Insurance Companies Act;

"officer" includes any director, manager, treasurer or secretary of an insurer, and any other member of the managing body of an insurer by whatever name called;

"person" includes corporation, unincorporated society or association, partnership, any group of underwriters and a Lloyd's association;

"policy" means the instrument evidencing a contract;

"premium" means the single or periodical payment under a contract for the insurance, and includes dues, assessments and other consideration;

"property" includes profits, earnings and other pecuniary interests, and expenditure for rents, interest, taxes and other outgoings and charges, and in respect of inability to occupy the insured premises, but only to the extent of express provision in the contract;

"superintendent" means the Superintendent of Financial Institutions under the Financial Institutions Act.

Application to contracts

2   (1) This Act, except as provided under an enactment, applies to every contract of insurance made or deemed made in British Columbia.

(2) This Act does not apply to or in respect of

(a) a contract of marine insurance within the meaning of the Marine Insurance Act (Canada), or

(b) vehicle insurance as defined in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.

Contract must be consistent with Act

3   (1) An insurer must not make a contract that is inconsistent with this Act.

(2) A contract is not rendered void or voidable as against an insured, or a beneficiary or other person to whom insurance money is payable under the contract, by reason of a failure of the insurer to comply with a provision of this Act.

Liability of continuing insurer

4   If an insurer, in this section called the "continuing insurer", and another insurer, in this section called the "retiring insurer", enter into an agreement in anticipation of the retiring insurer ceasing to do business in British Columbia and the continuing insurer assuming liability under contracts of insurance issued by the retiring insurer and specified in the agreement, and the retiring insurer ceases to carry on business in British Columbia, an insured or other person entitled to rights under those contracts may enforce the rights against the continuing insurer as though those contracts had been issued by the continuing insurer.

Effect on contracts of violation of law

5   Unless a contract otherwise provides, a violation of a criminal or other law in force in British Columbia or elsewhere does not render unenforceable a claim for indemnity under the contract unless the violation is committed by the insured, or by another person with the consent of the insured, with intent to bring about loss or damage, except that in the case of a contract of life insurance this section applies only to insurance payable under the contract in the event the person whose life is insured becomes disabled as a result of bodily injury or disease.

Application of Limitation Act

6   (1) Sections 18 to 20, 25 and 26 of the Limitation Act apply to a limitation period established under this Act in respect of an action or proceeding on a contract as if the limitation period were established under the Limitation Act.

(2) A limitation period established under this Act in respect of an action or proceeding on a contract may be varied by a contract to provide a longer period.

Electronic communications

7   (1) If under this Act a record is required or permitted to be provided to a person personally, by mail or by any other means, unless regulations referred to in subsection (4) of this section or under section 149 (2) (f) provide otherwise, the record may be provided to the person in electronic form in accordance with the Electronic Transactions Act.

(2) Despite section 2 (4) (a) and (b) of the Electronic Transactions Act, in this section, "record" includes a contract or declaration that designates the insured, the insured's personal representative or a beneficiary as a person to whom or for whose benefit insurance money is to be payable.

(3) If a record is provided in electronic form under this section,

(a) the record is deemed to have been provided by registered mail, and

(b) a period of time that, under this Act, starts to run when that record, or notification of it, is delivered to the addressee's postal address starts to run when the record is deemed received in accordance with the Electronic Transactions Act.

(4) The Electronic Transactions Act and subsection (1) of this section do not apply to a record, or in relation to a provision, under this Act that is excluded from their application by regulation.

Contents | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5-5.1 | Part 6