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

Quesnel barrel racer finishes in top spot at Pritchard Rodeo

Ashley Zappone and her horse, Lady, now sit fifth in the BCRA standings

Quesnel Kangaroos looking to fill important positions at AGM

Team president says they need a treasurer and game-day coordinator

Quesnel Terrors win silver in U16 provincials silver division

The host team lost by one run in extra innings in Sunday night’s silver division final

‘Williams Lake saved my life’ says cyclist who revisits town where he hit rock bottom

Tyler Waddell travels 2,600 from B.C. to Yukon to awareness about mental health issues

Washout hits Highway 97 north of Cache Creek

Drivers turning back as road is impassable

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read