What Is Considered ''Reasonable Time'' for Notice of Insurance Policy Condition ?
In Country Mutual Insurance Co. v. Livorsi Marine, Inc., 222 Ill. 2d 303, 856 N.E.2d 338, 305 Ill. Dec. 533 (2006), the court held that a policy condition requiring notice "as soon as practicable" means "within a reasonable time." 222 Ill. 2d at 311, 856 N.E.2d at 343.
Whether notice has been given within a reasonable time depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Country Mutual, 222 Ill. 2d at 311-12, 856 N.E.2d at 343.
To determine whether notice is reasonable, courts must analyze several factors, including:
(1) the specific language of the policy's notice provision;
(2) the insured's sophistication in commerce and insurance matters;
(3) the insured's awareness of an event which may trigger insurance coverage;
(4) the insured's diligence in ascertaining whether policy coverage is available;
(5) the presence or absence of prejudice to the insured. Country Mutual, 222 Ill. 2d at 312-13, 856 N.E.2d at 343-44.
The majority concludes that since plaintiff did not receive written notice of the lawsuit until 27 months after suit was filed, such notice was per se unreasonable.
Such a conclusion is not supported by Country Mutual, where the supreme court specifically refused to express an opinion regarding whether a 20-month delay was unreasonable. See Country Mutual, 222 Ill. 2d at 321, 856 N.E.2d at 348.