In unique situations, actual cash value ("ACV") or replacement cost ("RC") may not be the best match to meet a property owner's needs, or even be available. Policies that provide functional replacement cost ("FRC") valuation, or recommendations that do, offer an alternative. This valuation method is most often used to insure older structures built with obsolete materials and with obsolete or adapted methods; structures where RC often exceeds the market value. An ISO approval defines FRC as:
& # 39; Functional replacement cost & # 39; means the amount that it would cost to repair or replace the damaged building with less expensive common building materials and methods that functionally correspond to obsolete, antique or custom-built building materials and methods used in the building's original construction. 1
Common examples of "obsolete, antique or custom-built building materials" that are replaced by functional equivalents include (1) plaster with plaster; (2) clay roof tiles with shingles; and (3) elimination of custom woodwork and masonry.
Although premium payments under a FRC-approved policy may be cheaper compared to an RC insurance, prudent policyholders who choose this option will understand its consequences – after a covered loss, a policyholder is usually entitled to less insurance income than under a RC insurance and potentially less than under an ACV insurance.
Examples of Xactimate® pricing are demonstrative:
For a damaged structure that had drywall, an insurance that pays out according to the FRC may only give the insured the right to $ 2.38 / sq. replace the same walls with ½ ”plaster. According to an RC or ACV policy, plaster walls are written to be replaced with a modern equivalent, for example acoustic plaster over a ½ ”plaster core for $ 8.47 / sqm (not surprisingly, it would be difficult to find a new horse hair plaster today!). Even if the plaster equivalent is depreciated by 70 percent under an RC or ACV insurance, the insured is still entitled to the actual cash value of $ 2.54 / sq.m .; more than what is owed according to the FRC valuation (with recyclables still available under an RC policy).
Alternatively, and preferably, the FRC can properly address a gap between RC and ACV coverage:
It addresses situations where valuation of claims costs would be unnecessary in the event of total loss, but an actual cash settlement would not meet the needs of the insured in the event of a partial loss. 2
Forms and endorsements
ISO HO 00 08 – Modified coverage form – has FRC as standard for homeowners' property valuation. FRC can also be added to a policy for homeowners through approval. The ISO functional compensation cost loss recommendation, HO 05 30, is:
[O] ne of two inscriptions designed to insure an older home whose architectural style has become obsolete or simply unnecessary for the insured's current use of the house. 3
This certificate replaces the provisions on conciliation of homeowners that apply to the primary residence and other structures and states:
a. If the insurance amount of the damaged building at the time of the loss is 80% or more of the building's "functional compensation cost" immediately before the loss 4 and you agree to repair or compensate the damaged building for the same use, within 180 days after the damage, unless you and I agree otherwise, we will pay the lower of the following amounts: 5
1. The limit of liability according to this policy that applies to the building; or
2. The necessary amount actually spent to repair or replace the damaged building at a "functional replacement cost".
b. If you do not [contract for repair within 180 days]we pay at least the following amounts:
1. The limit of liability according to this policy that applies to the building;
2. The actual cash value of the damaged part of the building; or
3. The amount that it would cost to repair or replace the damaged building on a "functional replacement cost" basis.
Commercial property equivalent is ISO's functional building valuation recommendation, CP 04 38. Unlike homeowners' FRC approval, the commercial FRC approval contains a schedule. The property's FRC is determined in advance, including expected costs to comply with applicable ordinances and laws, and eliminates the need for a currency insurance clause.
In the event of a partial loss, the approval prescribes:
cost of repairing or replacing the damaged part of the building with cheaper materials, if available, in the architectural style that existed before the loss or damage occurred [.] 6  Determining what constitutes a "functional" compensation is not always an easy task. Be aware that there are many non-ISO FRC forms that deviate from the provisions of this blog, especially in commercial lines. Be sure to read your insurance policy and talk to an insurance professional if you are unsure how an FRC provision will be applied.
1 ISO HO 05 30 05 11
2 ISO Forms and approvals for commercial properties: Functional building valuation (CP 04 38) . IRMI. Available at
https://www.irmi.com/online/cpi/ch006/1l06f000/al006710.aspx (subscription required).
3 Functional replacement cost loss HO 05 30 . IRMI. Available at https://www.irmi.com/online/prmi/ch013/1l13f000/al003730.aspx (subscription required).
4 This acts as a coin insurance clause corresponding to a proportional payment.
5 ISO HO 05 31 grants ACV payment if FRC is less than ACV.
6 ISO CP 04 38 09 17