Legal Memorandum: Determining an insurance policy’s intent and appropriateness of summary judgement

Issue: Under Illinois law, how do courts determine intent of an insurance policy and whether summary judgement applies?

Area of Law: Contracts, Insurance
Keywords: ; Insurance; Policy; Rights; Obligations; Summary Judgement; Intent; Risk; unambiguous
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

"The construction of an insurance policy and a determination of the rights and obligations thereunder are questions of law for the court and appropriate subjects for disposition by summary judgment." Konami (America), Inc. v. Hartford Insurance Co. of Illinois, 326 Ill.App.3d 874, 877 (2002). In construing an insurance policy, the court’s primary function is to ascertain and enforce the intent of the parties as expressed in the agreement. American Economy Insurance Co. v. DePaul University, 383 Ill.App.3d 172, 177 (2008). To ascertain the intent of the parties and the meaning of the words used in the insurance policy, the court must construe the policy as a whole, taking into account the type of insurance for which the parties have contracted, the risks undertaken and purchased, the subject matter that is insured and the purposes of the entire contract. Crum & Forster Managers Corp. v. Resolution Trust Corp., 156 Ill.2d 384, 391 (1993). If the words in the policy are unambiguous, the court will afford them their plain, ordinary meaning, and will apply them as written. Id.

Travelers Personal Ins. Co. v. Edwards, 2016.IL.141595 (Ill. App. Dist. 1. Jan. 29, 2016).

Date: March 1, 2016