Greene v. USAA 1 is probably the most cited case of insurance company lawyers in Pennsylvania. It is a case at appeal level which concerned whether an insurance company must replace a roof when the existing shingles is no longer in production, but shingles with "similar color, structure, function and shape" exist. In Greene the Superior Court of Pennsylvania (appeal) held that the use of shingles similar to damaged shingles in function, color and shape fulfilled the insurer's obligation to pay for repairs or replacements of a similar design.
Greene involved the usual scenario of a homeowner damaging the roof, resulting in a disagreement as to whether the roof needed to be repaired or completely replaced. In this specific case, the damage was limited to a few shingles on one of the twelve slopes of the roof. The case went to trial and a price was issued of $ 3,1
Whether an insured has the right to have his [sic] roof reimbursed when part of the roof is damaged as a result of a covered loss when matching shingles cannot be obtained and the homeowner's insurance policy prescribes "replacement of the part of the building that is damaged "and for" similar construction and use.
The relevant insurance language is:
If the insurance amount at the time of the loss in this policy for the damaged building is 80% or more of the building's total compensation cost immediately before the loss, we will pay the cost of repairing or replacing, after application of the deductible and without deduction of depreciation, but not more than the lower of the following amounts:
(1) the limit of liability under this policy applicable to the building;
(2) the cost of repairing the damaged part of the building; or
(3) the amount actually spent on repairing or replacing the damaged building.
The replacement cost will not exceed that required for similar construction and use in the same premises; regardless of whether the replacement building is located in the same or different premises.
The Court of Appeal in Greene found that testimony at the trial showed that shingles of a similar color and texture existed and that these shingles could have been used to repair the damaged slope of the insured's roof. The court considered that a roof repair with shingles that is similar to the damaged shingles in function, color and shape meets the parameters for "similar construction" in the policy.
But one case I would like to quote in opposition to Greene is the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case, Collins v. Allstate Insurance Company 2 which dealt with the same issue. Collins distinguishes Greene by finding the following differences:
Here, in contrast to Greene the Wagner Declaration states that "there are currently no slate trays on the market. which are sufficiently similar in color, size, and texture to those of the Collins home at the time of the loss to make them of the "similar kind and quality" or "equivalent construction" required by the terms of the policy. ”Wagner says that repair of only the damaged part of the roof would therefore "result in a different appearance on the roof than what … existed before the loss and would not place Collins' back in the position they were in at the time of the loss." The Wagner statement thus raises real questions of material facts sufficient to defeat Allstate's proposal for a summary assessment of Count I.
The difference between Greene and Collins is clearly. The case Collins shows that as long as the insured has evidence that refutes a carrier's perception of the availability of a single "similar in function, color and shape", such as an explanation or perhaps an ITEL report that reflects that it does not is similar, the determination of whether the roof needs to be repaired or replaced, at least for aesthetic purposes, should be left to a fact.
Finally, it is important to note that the insured should have the carrier verify a single that the carrier proposes is similar, even if it is based on an ITEL report. ITEL reports tend to have language towards the end of the report that says "installers should verify visual and dimensional compatibility before purchasing and installing replacement products" or something similar.
1 Greene v. USAA ] 936 A.2d 1178, PA Super 344 (2007).
2 Collins v. Allstate Ins. Co. 2009 WL 4729901 (E.D.PA 10 December 2009).