Last November in my blogpost, Does the Standard Fire Policy Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition Apply to a Fire Loss Occurring within Sixty Days of the Inception of Coverage, I discussed how courts have measured vacancy/unoccupancy when a loss occurs within sixty days of the inception of coverage; but, the insured property had been vacant or unoccupied for more than sixty days prior to the effective date of coverage.
Continue Reading The Standard Fire Policy 60-Day Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition

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
Continue Reading Is a “Matching” Dispute Appropriate for Appraisal? – Update

While the term actual cash value is typically found in a property insurance policy, it often is not defined in the policy. Courts around the country use four primary methods to give meaning to the term actual cash value when it is not defined in an insurance policy. Those methods are:

(1) replacement cost without deduction for depreciation;

(2) market value;

(3) replacement cost with deduction for depreciation; and

(4) the broad evidence rule.
Continue Reading Determining Actual Cash Value in Indiana

Appraisal provisions in property insurance policies typically provide for a judge of a court of record in the state in which the insured property is located to select an umpire if the parties cannot agree upon one. What happens if one party fails to respond to the appraisal demand? Can a judge select an umpire without notice to the non-responding party?
Continue Reading Can A Court Select An Umpire For An Appraisal Without Notice To One Of The Parties?

Under the “Loss Settlement” provision in the typical homeowners property insurance policy, the insurer is not obligated to pay replacement cost benefits unless and until “actual repair or replacement is complete.” The “Loss Settlement” provision also limits the insurer’s replacement cost payment to the lesser of:

  • the limit of liability that applies to the building,
  • the replacement cost of that part of the building damaged for like construction and use on the same premises, or
  • the necessary amount actually spent to repair or replace the damaged building.1

Continue Reading Does Entering Into a Land Contract for Replacement Property Satisfy the “Actual And Complete Replacement” and “Amount Actually Spent” Requirements for Replacement Cost Benefits?

In Florida, an insurer’s denial of coverage constitutes a waiver of its right to require an insured to comply with policy conditions before filing suit.1 But, what if insured requests an insurer to reconsider its coverage denial before filing suit? Does the request to reconsider nullify the insurer’s previous denial of coverage requiring the insured to comply with policy conditions never initially invoked or requested?
Continue Reading Compliance with Policy Conditions After a Denial of Coverage

An Illinois homeowner recently contacted me regarding an insurer’s denial of a water damage claim. The facts were: An underground pipe which was part of a municipal water supply system (“the water main”) burst and water was released from the water main. The pressure from the water cracked the street pavement and water flowed onto the pavement, travelled across the pavement, and then down the sloped driveway leading into the garage of the insured dwelling. Ultimately, the water flowed into the lower level of the home, damaging building materials and personal property.
Continue Reading Is Water Damage Caused by a Burst Water Main Covered?

I have handled many fire losses over the years involving vacant and/or unoccupied property.1 In some losses, the fire occurred within 60 days of the inception of coverage; but, the insured property had been vacant or unoccupied for more than 60 days prior to the effective date of coverage. Invariably, the insurers in those fire losses denied the claim, taking the position that vacancy/unoccupancy2 is measured from the inception of the vacancy/unoccupancy as opposed to the inception of coverage.
Continue Reading Does the Standard Fire Policy Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition Apply to a Fire Loss Occurring within Sixty Days of the Inception of Coverage?

I wrote about Streit v. Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company1 in a recent blogpost. In Streit, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that an insurance policy “intentional loss” exclusion which precluded innocent co-insureds from recovering for a fire loss was unenforceable because it violated the minimum level of protection afforded by the Illinois Standard Fire Policy.
Continue Reading The Massachusetts Standard Fire Policy and the Innocent Co-Insured Doctrine