"as soon as practicable," thus precluding CIE's liability under the
The first issue involves CIE's potential liability only as to the
City. (Apparently, Impact has been joined as a defendant in the state
case, so CIE would still run a risk of liability even if it prevails on
this issue.) CIE contends that the only endorsement it issued for the
City of Chicago attached to policy No. GL 012600 ("renewal policy") for
the year September 15, 1983 through September 15, 1984, not policy No. GL
012518 ("original policy") for the year in which the accident occurred.
While CIE concedes that a certificate of insurance issued to Impact by
Weiss indicated that the City was covered under the original policy, CIE
maintains that Weiss had no authority to issue the certificate.
The resolution of this question turns upon principles of the Illinois
law of agency. The Illinois cases tend to distinguish between an
"insurance agent," who acts solely for the insurer, and a "broker," who
is not permanently employed by any principal, but acts in each case as a
special agent for a single object. See, e.g., City of Chicago v. Barnett,
404 Ill. 136, 88 N.E.2d 477 (1949); Browder v. Hanley Dawson Cadillac,
62 Ill. App.3d 623, 20 Ill.Dec. 138, 379 N.E.2d 1206 (1978). Since Weiss
appears not to have been permanently employed by CIE, it may be
appropriate to refer to Weiss as a "broker." This designation, however,
does not assist in the ultimate determination of whether Weiss had
authority to bind CIE, Impact, or both. That question in every case "is
dependent upon who called [the agent] into action, who controls his
movement, who pays him, and whose interests he represents." Id. at 629,
20 Ill.Dec. at 143, 379 N.E.2d at 1211. These are questions of fact, to
be determined from the particular circumstances of the case. Davidson v.
Comet Casualty Co., 89 Ill. App.3d 720, 44 Ill.Dec. 943, 412 N.E.2d 19
(1980). Where the evidence clearly shows that the broker is acting on
behalf of a particular principal, however, they may become matters of
law. Id. at 723, 44 Ill.Dec. at 946, 412 N.E.2d at 22.
Apparently, Weiss negotiated the original policy through UCA and may
have dealt with UCA in regard to the certificate of insurance.
Documentary evidence submitted in this case shows that the policy was
signed by J.J. Carroll of UCA acting as the "authorized representative"
of CIE. We therefore conclude that UCA had actual or apparent authority
to bind CIE. The further question is whether Weiss was a subagent for CIE
or an agent for Impact.
CIE maintains that Weiss was subject to Impact's direction at all times
relevant to the suit. In response, the defendants contend that Weiss
received actual authority from an officer of UCA and that, regardless of
actual authority, CIE ratified Weiss's actions by acquiescing in them.
See Old Security Life Ins. Co. v. Continental Illinois Nat. Bank,
740 F.2d 1384, 1392 (7th Cir. 1984); Copley v. Pekin Ins. Co.,
130 Ill. App.3d 299, 302, 85 Ill.Dec. 643, 646, 474 N.E.2d 57, 60
(Ill.App.Ct. 1985) (discussing principles of ratification under Illinois
Although both sides have developed viable theories of agency, neither
has presented sufficient evidence to support them. The best either side
can do is to cite deposition transcripts. See supra note 2. Moreover,
there appears to be a significant factual dispute as to whether Weiss
received actual authority from a UCA officer. See Mem. in Support of City
of Chicago's Motion for Summary Judgment at 2-3. In sum, the record in
this case is not so clear as to justify converting the essentially
factual question of agency into a question of law.
The second issue — timeliness of notice — focuses on the
following provisions of the insurance policy:
¶ 4(a) In the event of an occurrence, written
notice containing particulars reasonably sufficient to
identify the insured and also reasonably obtainable
information with respect to the time, place and
circumstances thereof, and the names and addresses of
the injured and of available witnesses, shall be given
by or for
the insured to the company or any of its authorized
agents as soon as practicable.
(b) if claim is made or suit is brought against the
insured, the insured shall immediately forward to the
company every demand, notice, summons or other process
received by him or his representative.
¶ 5. No action shall lie against the company
unless, as a condition precedent thereto, there shall
have been full compliance with all of the terms of
this policy. . . .
An "occurrence" is defined in the policy as "an accident . . . which
results in bodily injury or property damage neither expected nor intended
from the standpoint of the insured."