The Illinois Supreme Court determined that a homeowner insurer may not depreciate labor costs in calculating actual cash value (ACV) after a loss under the policy. Sproull v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., 2021 Ill. LEXIS 619 (Ill. Sept. 23, 2021).
Plaintiff was insured under a homeowner's policy that provided replacement cost coverage for structural damage. Under the policy, the insured would initially receive an ACV payment but then could receive replacement cost value (RCV) if repairs or replacement were completed within two years and the insurer was timely notified. The policy did not define "actual cash value."
Plaintiff suffered wind damage to his residence and timely submitted a property damage claim to State Farm. The adjuster determined that the building sustained a loss with RCV of $1711.54. In calculating ACV, State Farm began with the RCV and then subtracted plaintiff's $1000 deductible and an additional $394.36, including taxes, for depreciation. Plaintiff thus received an ACV payment of $317.18. Plaintiff claimed that he was underpaid on his ACV claim because State Farm depreciated labor, which is intangible and thus not subject to wear, tear, and obsolescence. Further, labor should not have been depreciated because it was not susceptible to aging or wearing and its value did not diminish over time.