Last year in one of my blogposts, I wrote about Windridge of Naperville Condominium Association v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, and the issue whether appraisal is appropriate to resolve a dispute over the cost of repairing physically undamaged siding of townhome buildings to remedy a mismatch with repaired damaged siding. There, a federal district court in Illinois denied the Association’s motion to compel appraisal on the “matching” issue, reasoning it was a question of coverage, not loss amount, and inappropriate for appraisal.1

This coverage issue was recently resolved for the Association, the district court concluding that Philadelphia must replace or pay to replace the siding on all four of the townhome buildings’ elevations if no siding is available that matches the undamaged siding on the north and east elevations, as claimed by the Association.2

In reaching its conclusion, the district court rejected Philadelphia’s argument that because only the south and west elevations suffered “direct physical loss,” it need only replace the siding on those elevations. The district court reasoned that the policy’s coverage grant – direct physical loss to covered property – referred to the building as a whole, as opposed to one or fewer than all elevations.3

Even if that were not the only sensible reading of the policy, the district court stated the most that could be said in Philadelphia’s favor is that the policy is ambiguous. This meant that the Association’s reading of the policy would prevail, for Illinois law holds that courts must construe ambiguous provisions in favor of coverage.4 But, because the parties disagreed whether matches were available for undamaged siding, the district court found that disagreement to be a dispute regarding loss amount, and thus a question proper for appraisal.5

As far as federal district courts in Illinois are concerned, disputes as to causation, the scope of repair or replacement, the cost of repair or replacement, matching, and whether the damage is extensive enough to require employing a general contractor are disputes as the “amount of loss,” and therefore appropriate for appraisal.6
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1 Windridge of Naperville Condo. Ass’n v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., No. 16-3860, 2017 WL 372308 (N.D. Ill. Jan 26, 2017).
2 Windridge of Naperville Condo. Ass’n v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., No. 16-3860, 2018 WL 1784140 (N.D. Ill. April 13, 2018).
3 Id., at *3.
4 Id., at *4.
5 Id., at *5.
6 See also Spring Point Condo. Ass’n v. QBE Ins. Corp., No. 17-2065, 2017 WL 8209085 (N.D. Ill. Dec 13, 2017); Runaway Bay Condo. Ass’n v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Cos., 2017 WL 1478114 (N.D. Ill. April 25, 2017).

  • shirley heflin

    Dear Mr. Eshoo:

    Well, this is a great “ending” for the Insured (i.e., their benefits finally paid). In the end, justice prevailed; she may be slow, but she usually prevails.

    Respectfully,
    SHIRLEY HEFLIN
    Tampa, FL

  • Edward Fako

    Mr. Eshoo,

    It is unfortunate that the Insurers Appraisers and the Insurer themselves refuse to acknowledge the simple clarity that “Matching” is acceptable as an Appraisable issue.

    Not only that, but the Insurer took it upon themselves to leave a Voice Mail message on the Policy Holders phone line stating that there was No Way that a full replacement could ever get covered due to no other materials being available that provide even a semblance of a reasonable comparable uniform appearance.

    What steps would a Policy Holder need to take when the bias is so blatant? Can they have an Attorney file for a Declaratory Judgment to enforce the Windridge decision regarding Matching?