In the latest
entry of “matching” jurisprudence under first party property policies, the
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledging that jurisdictions have reached
conflicting results and applying Illinois law, held that a carrier was required
to replace undamaged siding to match the panels replaced due to damage in a
In doing so, the court affirmed the Northern District of Illinois’ award of
summary judgment in favor of the insured on that issue.
dispute arose out of a May 2014 hailstorm that caused significant damage to the
insured’s buildings. The parties largely agreed as to the scope of the damage
but disagreed as to whether the insurer was required to pay to replace
undamaged siding panels in order to match those needing replacement due to hail
damage. The original matching siding was no longer available. The Seventh Circuit
agreed with the policyholder and the district court, finding the policy
language ambiguous as applied to the circumstances because each party’s
interpretation was plausible. The policyholder argued the buildings as a whole
were damaged and that, per the policy terms, all siding needed replacement to
ensure a uniform appearance. The insurance company, on the other hand, argued
that the policy language only required it to replace those panels actually
damaged by the storm. In light of these arguments, the court found that the
policy language failed to address specifically whether aesthetic matching was
required for physically damaged structure. Facing this ambiguity, the court
interpreted the policy in favor of coverage. Ultimately, the court found that the
policyholder would not be placed into the same position it was before the storm
if it were provided only with mismatched siding.
court recognized some limitations with its decision. The court’s language
focused heavily on the exact policy language at issue and the factual scenario,
implying that the analysis could very well be different if either changed.
Also, the court stated that common sense should govern in situations such as
minor damage to a roof where matching shingles were unavailable. In that
situation (under the same policy language at issue), the court stated that the
insured would be entitled to the value of repairs and compensation for the
decrease in value resulting from the mismatched shingle. Finally, the court
recognized the significant conflicting case law favoring the insurer’s position.
However, none of the decisions the insurance company cited dealt with the
specific policy language used in its policy and none were binding in Illinois.
 Windridge of
Naperville Condominium Association v. Philadelphia Indemnity
Insurance Co., No.
18-2103, 2019 WL 3720876 (August 7, 2019)