Anti-Stacking Provision Example Case
In Grzeszczak v. Illinois Farmers Insurance Co., 168 Ill. 2d 216, 213 Ill. Dec. 606, 659 N.E.2d 952 (1995), the supreme court held that an antistacking provision was unambiguous and did not violate public policy.
The clause there provided:
"'With respect to any accident or occurrence to which this and any other auto policy issued to you by any member company of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies applies, the total limit of liability under all the policies shall not exceed the highest applicable limit of liability under any one policy.'" Grzeszczak, 168 Ill. 2d at 220-21.
The court held that this language unambiguously provided that the insured could not stack underinsured motorist coverages of multiple policies. Grzeszczak, 168 Ill. 2d at 229;
Bruder v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., 156 Ill. 2d 179, 186, 189 Ill. Dec. 387, 620 N.E.2d 355 (1993) (holding similar provision unambiguous);
Menke v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., 78 Ill. 2d 420, 424, 36 Ill. Dec. 698, 401 N.E.2d 539 (1980).
The construction of an insurance policy is a question of law that this court reviews de novo with the purpose of ascertaining the parties' intent. Smagala v. Owen, 307 Ill. App. 3d 213, 217, 240 Ill. Dec. 398, 717 N.E.2d 491 (1999); Kopier v. Harlow, 291 Ill. App. 3d 139, 141, 225 Ill. Dec. 368, 683 N.E.2d 536 (1997).
When determining whether an ambiguity exists, a court must read a provision in its factual context. Pahn v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 291 Ill. App. 3d 343, 345, 225 Ill. Dec. 469, 683 N.E.2d 972 (1997).
If policy language is unambiguous, we must discern the parties' intent directly from that language without resorting to rules of construction, unless to do so would violate public policy. Kopier, 291 Ill. App. 3d at 141.