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

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

Crime Stoppers urges Lower Mainland residents to check these 9 safety items every night

Home security tips demonstrated at Cloverdale house on Wednesday

Hope raises almost $700 for Tillicum Centre

By purchasing art on display locally, community raised $690 for the adult centre

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Most Read