Forfeiture of Insurance – Willfully False Statements & Breach

For any new driver that has a Learner’s Licence, this is a good decision that brings awareness to the consequences that may occur if you breach the provisions of your insurance policy and licence and the unfortunate consequence of making a willfully false statement to an insurer when reporting a claim.  The result of such actions may result in forfeiture of insurance.

King v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2010 BCSC 1740 provides a good discussion of these consequences.  Unfortunately for the Plaintiff in this case, he was deemed to have forfeited his insurance policy as a result of the following actions:

  1. Driving his vehicle with a Learner’s Licence without a qualified supervised passenger in the vehicle; and
  2. Making a willfully false statement to the Insurance Corporation.

This Plaintiff commenced the within action to seek a declaration of insurance coverage after he caused a motor vehicle accident at a time when he was driving without a qualified supervised passenger. He initially reported to ICBC that he was alone in the vehicle.  He thereafter changed his initial report to state that his girlfriend, a qualified supervised passenger, was seated in the back seat of the vehicle at the time of the collision.

This was deemed to be a wilfully false statement, and the court concluded that as a result of the Plaintiff’s conduct noted in 1. and 2. above, his licence was forfeited.

As a result of his forfeiture of insurance coverage, the Plaintiff was left with judgment against him in the sum of $36,613.63, which was successfully claimed by ICBC in its Counterclaim to settle various claims that resulted from the subject motor vehicle collision.


[100] The plaintiff held a Class 5L learner’s licence which required him to have a qualified supervisor of at least 19 years of age in the vehicle with him.

 [101] The relevant provisions of s. 30.01(1)(h) of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulation is:

Class 5L licence is a learner’s licence that, subject to the applicable conditions and restrictions under sections 30.06 (1) . . . permits operation of a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles for which a Class 5 licence is required.

 [102] Under the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, a person holding a Class 5L learner’s driver’s licence must have an accompanying passenger in the vehicle that meets the requirements of s. 30.06(1):

A person to whom a Class 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L or 5L licence is issued, or a person to whom a Class 7L licence is issued before October 6, 2003, must not operate a motor vehicle of a category designated in section 30.01 (2) for the class of licence issued unless the person is accompanied by another person who

  • is at least 19 years of age,
  • holds a valid and subsisting driver’s licence, other than a learner’s licence or a Class 7 licence, of a class that permits him or her to operate a motor vehicle of that category, and
  • occupies the seat beside the operator . . .


[103] The plaintiff, in breach of his insurance policy, was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident, contrary to the restriction requiring him to be accompanied by a qualified passenger of at least 19 years of age.

 [104] Section 55(3) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, prohibits an insured from operating a vehicle for which coverage is provided if the insured is not authorized and qualified by law to operate the vehicle.

 [105] Section 75 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act governs the circumstances in which an insured’s right to insurance money is forfeited:

All claims by or in respect of the applicant or insured are invalid and the right of an applicant, an insured, or a person claiming through or on behalf of an applicant or insured or of a person claiming as a dependant of the applicant or the insured, to insurance money under the plan or an optional insurance contract, is forfeited if

. . .

(b) the insured violates a term or condition of or commits a fraud in relation to the plan or the optional insurance contract, or

(c) the insured makes a wilfully false statement with respect to the claim.

Section 77(2) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act provides that:

. . . if an insurer has paid an amount to a person under section 76 by way of settlement or otherwise, that it would not otherwise be liable to pay, and has personally delivered or forwarded by registered mail to the last known address of the insured a demand for reimbursement of that amount, the insured is liable to reimburse the insurer that amount, and the insurer may enforce the right by action in court.


[107] Here the plaintiff has forfeited his coverage under his policy of insurance by operating his vehicle without a qualified accompanying passenger at a time when he held a Class 5L learner’s licence.

The relevant provisions of s. 69(1)(a)(v) of the Motor Vehicle Act provide:

 A person commits an offence if the person does any of the following:

 (a) makes a false statement in

. . .

(v) a report of an accident . . .


[109] I find that the defendant has met the onus of showing that the plaintiff made a wilfully false statement to ICBC on November 27, 2007, when, after initially reporting that he was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident, he reported that he was accompanied by a front-seat passenger, Ms. Gromova.

 [110] In Petersen v. Bannon, [1993] B.C.J. 2357, 84 B.C.L.R. (2d) 350 (B.C.C.A.), where the insured gave two contradictory statements to ICBC, the court held at paras. 46 to 47:

[46] A wilful act is one done intentionally, knowingly and purposely, without justifiable excuse. A wilful act is to be distinguished from an act done carelessly, thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently. A wilful act differs essentially from one done negligently: see Gill v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, [1990] I.L.R. 1-2529 (B.C.S.C.).

 [47] The onus is on the insurer to prove on a balance of probabilities that the statements in question were wilfully false. Because the allegations are serious, the judge is justified in scrutinizing the evidence carefully, and cogent evidence will be required to support an allegation of dishonesty.

[113] The defendant has established, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr. King breached the conditions of his policy and has forfeited his entitlement to insurance money.


[120] In conclusion, I have found that the plaintiff breached the conditions of the insurance plan and his licence by driving his vehicle when not accompanied by a qualified supervising passenger. The plaintiff also breached the terms under which he was insured by making a wilfully false statement with respect to his claim when he informed the defendant on November 27, 2007, that he was accompanied by Ms. Gromova at the time of the accident. By virtue of those breaches, the plaintiff forfeited his entitlement to insurance money.

 [121] The plaintiff’s action against the defendant is dismissed.

 [122] The defendant will have judgment against the plaintiff on its counterclaim in the amount of $36,613.63, together with interest pursuant to the Court Order Interest Act.

 [123] In light of the defendant’s success, unless there is some matter that counsel wish to bring to my attention, the defendant is entitled to the costs of this action, including the counterclaim, at Scale B.

 This case was also referenced in Narayan v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2015 BCSC 994 (CanLII) in which the Court concluded that the Plaintiff was deemed to have forfeited his insurance and the Defendant successfully proved its Counterclaim.  Judgment against the Plaintiff was rendered under the Counterclaim in the sum of $17,627.61 and costs were awarded to ICBC at Scale B.

A hearing on the issue of costs in the King action proceeded to court separately under King v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (Costs), 2010 BCSC 1742 (CanLII)