N.L. couple’s insurance claim for Florida accident stands up in court

Published on November 18, 2013

A couple from Newfoundland and Labrador is entitled to make an insurance claim as passengers in a vehicle involved in an accident while they were vacationing in Florida, according to a Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador decision.

Justice Raymond Halley dismissed an application made by the insurance company — Scottish and York Insurance Co. Ltd. — after determining that Ryan Wade Drover’s automobile insurance contract did cover his parents, Clement and Eileen Drover.

At issue for the insurance company was whether the policy covered Clement and Eileen Drover as dependents of their son Ryan. To do so, the company claimed that the couple had to live in the same residence as their son and be financially dependent on him.

Halley ruled that the Drovers were not dependent relatives prior to the Florida vacation with their son and his family, noting the couple lived in their own home and were financially independent.

However, he found that relationship changed once the trip began in late April of 2006. The accident happened shortly after the family left the Orlando airport. The driver of the other vehicle admitted liability in the accident. All of the occupants in the Drovers’ rental vehicle suffered injuries.

When Ryan and his wife Kerri Drover asked Ryan’s parents to join them on the trip, it was proposed they would help look after their four children.

Ryan and his family agreed to cover all the expenses for his parents, including airfare, food, entertainment and accommodations. Clement and Eileen were also staying in the same rental property as their son’s family.

“I find that when (Clement and Eileen) left St. John’s to travel to Orlando their status changed from independent to dependent relatives of their son,” ruled Halley, whose decision was issued last Tuesday. “They are therefore insured persons under (Ryan Drover’s) Endorsement Policy.”

Halley said Clement and Eileen Drover are entitled to claim compensation under their son’s insurance contract and that the company must pay their costs as taxed.