An Ontario appeal court has ruled that a lower court was wrong in allowing the widow of a former terrorist to collect on his life insurance policy.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled in favour of Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., which sought to overturn the ruling of a motions judge who found that the widow, Fadia Khalil Mohammad, was entitled to collect on her dead husband’s $75,000 life policy.
According to the decision, Mohammad’s husband came to Canada in 1987 using an alias and applied for life insurance that same year as a condition for getting a mortgage.
On the insurance application, the man didn’t disclose his past as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or his conviction for manslaughter for his role in storming an El Al jet in 1968, which left one person dead.
The man was deported to Lebanon in 2013 after Canadian authorities uncovered his past. He died from lung cancer in 2015.
The appeal decision noted that the motions judge found in favour of the widow, ruling that the insurance application didn’t include any questions about his immigration status, citizenship or criminal history, which “signalled that these issues were not material.”
However, the appeal court found that the man’s past was material to his life insurance risk, and should have been disclosed.
“The deceased knew that his past activities were relevant to his application for life insurance. Indeed, shortly after he applied for the life insurance, the deceased filed an affidavit in his immigration proceedings in which he said that his life would be in danger if he were to be deported to Israel,” the appeal court noted.
“He was well aware that his past activities, coupled with his illegal entry into Canada, put him at serious risk of physical harm,” the court found. It added that intentionally withholding the information was “sufficient to establish fraud” and that his widow was not entitled to the insurance payout.
The court allowed Manulife’s appeal and dismissed the case.