Earlier this year, a Chilean court found an insurance broker liable to an insurance beneficiary for failing to obtain the insurance coverage requested, which led to the insurer denying the beneficiary's claim for disability benefits. Silva v. Vorbezza, C-7077-2007 (Juzgado Civil de Santiago).
The court found that a workers association had requested that the broker obtain death and disability coverage for its members, including in the event that they were injured in the course of their work as horsemen. The broker obtained death and disability coverage for the organization's members, but the policy contained an exclusion for death or injuries occurring during the beneficiaries' professional work.
The beneficiary plaintiff suffered an injury while engaged in horseback riding and suffered 70% disability. The insurer denied coverage and the beneficiary brought suit against the broker. The court found the broker liable for failing to obtain the requested coverage and imposed damages in the amount that would have been recoverable under the insurance policy had it been properly obtained.
The court further refused to dismiss the beneficiary's claim on the basis that the four-year time bar had passed, finding that the broker's communications with the beneficiary interrupted the running of the time bar. There is some question whether this further holding is supportable under Article 2518 of the Chilean Civil Code, which requires that a defendant recognize an obligation, not simply correspond with a plaintiff, in order to interrupt the time bar.
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