The golden statue of an eagle allegedly stolen in Delta in 2016. (Delta Police Department)

Battle over insurance payout for missing gold B.C. eagle statue

The gold and diamond-encrusted eagle was reported stolen in Delta in 2016

A major insurance company is fighting back after a B.C. court required it to make good on a policy covering a gold, diamond-encrusted eagle statue allegedly stolen in Metro Vancouver more than two years ago.

The B.C. Supreme Court issued a default judgment against Lloyd’s Underwriters last month, ordering it to pay the plaintiff, Forgotten Treasures International Inc., and its president, Ron Shore, damages and costs for the loss of the pricey statue.

READ MORE: Golden Eagle statue valued at $6 million reported stolen

But court documents show Lloyd’s intends to return to court in February to ask for the default judgment to be overturned, arguing Shore violated the insurer’s conditions.

The court issued the judgment after Lloyd’s failed to formally answer Shore’s civil suit, but Lloyd’s says in documents filed last month that Shore’s lawyer was well aware the insurer wanted more detail before filing its notice of response.

Lloyd’s says in the documents that its lawyers also urged Shore’s counsel to confirm default proceedings were not underway, but the insurer says it only learned of the judgment four days after it had been made.

The insurer says it has “not wilfully defaulted” and is seeking special costs as an indication ”a party’s litigation conduct is reprehensible.”

Documents filed when Shore launched his suit last year show the eight kilogram, solid gold eagle statue studded with 763 diamonds weighing a total of 56 karats was appraised at $930,450 in May 2016.

That was when police in Delta, B.C., reported Shore had been attacked and robbed as he carried the statue and a similar silver one to his car following a presentation about an international treasure hunt he was operating.

The jewel-covered statue and the silver version were prizes in the hunt, which was a fundraiser for cancer research, the statement of claim says.

The treasure hunt involved finding 12 certificates hidden in locations around North America and Europe with the first person to find the clue awarded one of 12 solid silver eagles.

Five of the silver eagles, worth an estimated total of $175,000, had already been awarded at the time Shore was attacked, hit over the head and robbed of the statues that he was carrying in a backpack, his claim says.

The gold eagle was to be sold at the end of the treasure hunt to finance the winner’s $1-million prize, say Forgotten Treasure’s documents, and the insurance policy for the jewelled bird set liability at $400,000, while liability for loss of the silver statue was set at $53,750.

Documents filed in November by Lloyd’s say the policy limits of liability for the articles were $710,000 and $53,750 respectively.

The insurers formally denied coverage in October 2016, says Shore’s civil claim.

Insurance broker The Hub, which is also listed as a defendant in the suit, alleges in its response that the eagle statues were being transported in a manner Shore “knew or ought to have known was in contravention of the policy.”

Lloyd’s supports that allegation in a notice of application seeking more information from Forgotten Treasures about its claim.

The policy contained conditions, one of which provided that coverage is excluded unless the insured articles are in the close personal custody and control of the assured and an officer or representative of the assured at all times, says the application.

Shore’s claim says he had an associate with him the night the statues disappeared but Lloyd’s disagrees, noting in its documents that Shore was accompanied by Tanya Merx, a friend and practising psychologist, who was not trained in security.

“It is also clear from Ms. Merx’s statement that she was not with Mr. Shore during the reported mugging; rather, she had driven away from the scene and did not see the reported theft. Therefore, two persons for the plaintiff were not accompanying the insured articles at all times,” says the Lloyd’s filing.

Shore’s claim seeks a ruling that the policy was validly issued and “covered all losses during the policy period.”

He is also seeking special, punitive and general damages, including $400,000 for the gold and diamond-covered eagle, and $53,750 for the silver statue.

A hearing regarding the default judgment is set for Feb. 26 in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Distinguishable stolen bike located in Chemainus

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP seeking the rightful owner

Decision on the mental fitness of Colin John expected on Friday

Suspect charged with second-degree murder in Chemainus three years ago

Celebration marks expanded Chemainus Valley Museum space

Dignitaries and public gather for cake, camaraderie

Play revolves around teenagers in thought-provoking dialogue

Chemainus Theatre’s I & You focuses on the development of an unlikely friendship

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read