E.g., National Union, 673 F. Supp. at 272. The court in Verlan expressed the view that "while Section 155 may adequately protect an insured from unreasonable delay in paying the insured's own claim under the policy, it does not adequately protect an insured who is exposed to liability to a third party far in excess of the policy limits because of the insurer's bad faith." Verlan, 695 F. Supp. at 957.
Moreover, in National Union, the court stated that when the insurer "frustrates a third party's willingness to settle a claim against the insured within the policy limits, the damage to the insured is truly direct rather than consequential" thus warranting a finding that such claims are beyond the scope of Section 155. National Union, 673 F. Supp. at 271. However, the Illinois Appellate Court has held that "where the legislature has provided a remedy on a subject matter we are not only loath but in addition harbor serious doubts as to the desirability and wisdom of implementing or expanding the legislative remedy by judicial decree." Debolt v Mutual of Omaha, 56 Ill. App. 3d 111, 116, 371 N.E.2d 373, 377, 13 Ill. Dec. 656 (1978). See also Cunningham v Brown, 22 Ill. 2d 23, 174 N.E.2d 153 (1961); Hall v Gillins, 13 Ill. 2d 26, 147 N.E.2d 352 (1958); Barr Co. v Safeco Insurance Co. of America, 706 F. Supp. 616, 617 (ND ILL 1989)(Illinois Supreme Court doctrine dictates that "courts should not implement or expand by judicial decree remedies already provided by the legislature.")
Section 155 strikes a balance between providing the insured with a remedy for specified vexatious and unreasonable conduct by the insurer and protecting insurers from huge awards of damages bearing no relationship to the amounts at issue under the insurance policies. See Kush, 853 F.2d at 1386 (Section 155 "strikes a balance between the individual insured party's need for compensation and the broad societal interest in avoiding excessive damage awards that result in price increases to all policyholders, perhaps making some insurance prohibitively expensive for the average consumer). If Section 155 strikes that balance too favorably to insurers, it is a matter for the Illinois General Assembly to remedy, not the courts. See Debolt v Mutual of Omaha, 56 Ill. App. 3d at 117, 371 N.E.2d 378 ("it may well be that the statutory remedy should provide greater relief but we hold that to be a matter for legislative determination.")
The concern of the court in National Union and the cases following it, that an insured's remedy may be unreasonably restricted by Section 155 in cases like the one at bar, although of great force logically, do not have a basis in the statute. 215 ILCS 5/155. Section 155 limits the insurer's possible liability in the cases within its scope, and its scope is certainly broad enough to include the case at bar. This court greatly respects the logic of the reasoning in National Union, and shares in the concern that in some cases Section 155's remedy limit may be unreasonably low. However, because of the statute's broad scope and broadly preemptive effect, this court is unable to agree that Section 155 is not preemptive in cases like the one at bar.
Moreover, if doubts remain as to the meaning of the statute, courts may look to the legislative history for guidance. McQueen v. Erickson (1978), 61 Ill. App. 3d 859, 378 N.E.2d 614, 19 Ill. Dec. 113. In its review of the history of Section 155, the Seventh Circuit in Kush held that the Illinois legislature had preempted the field by enacting Section 155. Kush at 1385. Furthermore, the Illinois Appellate Court in Combs found that:
This is not a case where the legislature has refused to enact a regulation to control the abuses of the insurance industry. The subject statute, as originally enacted in 1975, allowed an aggrieved insured to recover a prescribed amount of attorney fees in addition to recovery of proceeds under the policy. In 1977, the legislature deemed it necessary to expand plaintiff's relief to include all reasonable attorney fees, other costs, an additional sum amounting to a penalty, as well as recovery of the proceeds under the policy. The Illinois legislature, by virtue of these enactments has clearly manifested its intent to keep this matter within its power and control.