Report: Former NHL D Berard, insurer involved in $18M squabble

Bryan Berard skates for the New York Islanders in the 2007-08 season.

Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Former NHL defenseman Bryan Berard is being sued by Standard Security Life after the player accused the insurance company of fraud, according to a Thursday report by the New York Post citing court papers.

The Post writes that the current squabble evolves out of Berard calling for $18 million in benefits, interest and penalties while asserting that the agreement clearing the insurer of future claims was fraudulent. According to the Post report, the suit says Standard sued Berard to preempt threatened litigation by the defenseman.  

Berard played 10 NHL seasons for the six teams and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1997, but one tragic incident stands out in his career. On March 12, 2000, while with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a high stick from then-Ottawa Senators forward Marian Hossa caught Berard under his right eye. He underwent hours of surgery that night, and his vision had been reduced to no more than 20/600, the AP reported in 2001.

Berard received a settlement of about $6.5 million after hanging up his skates, but later decided he wasn’t done playing professionally.

In returning to the league, he had to meet the NHL’s vision requirements — doing so with the help of fitted contact lens — and return the money to the insurance company. But on Oct. 5, 2001, Berard made his comeback in a game with the New York Rangers vs. the Carolina Hurricanes.

Berard played five more years in the league before retiring for good in 2009.

The Post says he hired a lawyer four years later questioning why he had to return the money to Standard.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, Berard says the repayment agreement was slipped into the policy but he admits to signing the waivers.

Berard told the Post he has not been served legal documents. The paper also states that the lawyer for the insurer declined discussion.