APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY 10 CH 20252 HONORABLE MICHAEL B. HYMAN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Steele
PRESIDING JUSTICE STEELE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Murphy and Salone concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Defendant, the Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund (Fund), appeals an order of the circuit court of Cook County granting summary judgment to plaintiff, Skokie Castings, Inc., as successor to Wells Manufacturing Company (collectively Wells), in a declaratory judgment action. The circuit court ruled that Wells, a self-insuring employer, was entitled to payment from the Fund based on excess workers' compensation policies Wells purchased from Home Insurance Company (Home) before the insurer became insolvent. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
¶ 3 The record on appeal discloses the following facts. In 1985, Wells was an industrial company doing business in Skokie, Illinois. On February 6, 1985, Wells employee Mona Soloky was injured when she sustained a bullet wound to the head while in the course and scope of her employment. Soloky filed a workers' compensation claim against Wells seeking benefits for her injury. On March 10, 1993, the Illinois Industrial Commission found Soloky to be totally and permanently disabled and ordered Wells to pay all reasonable and necessary medical costs, plus weekly benefit payments for life (Soloky award).
¶ 4 At the time of Soloky's injury, Wells was a qualified self-insurer with respect to workers' compensation insurance. However, Wells also purchased an "Aggregate Excess Workers' Compensation and Employers' Liability Policy" and a "Specific Excess Workers' Compensation and Employers' Liability Policy" from Home. The aggregate Home policy provided in part:
"Upon receipt of a monthly or quarterly statement from or on behalf of the insured showing each payment made by the Insured during such period in excess of the Insured's Retention *** the company will promptly reimburse the Insured for such indemnification as the company is obligated to pay under the terms of this policy."
The Home policy at issue provided in part:
"[Home] hereby agrees to indemnify the Insured against excess loss, subject to the limitations, conditions and other terms of this policy, which the Insured may sustain on account of *** compensation and other benefits required of the Insured by the Workers' Compensation Law ***."
Wells paid the Soloky award up to the retention amount stated in the Home policies. Home then paid the award until the insurer went into receivership.
¶ 5 Following the liquidation of Home, the Fund, pursuant to the statute creating the Fund (215 ILCS 5/532 et seq. (West 2004)), began paying benefits based on the Soloky award and Soloky's ongoing medical needs. On May 13, 2005, the Fund notified Wells that the $300,000 cap on covered claims under the statute (215 ILCS 5/537.2 (West 2004)) applied and the claim was nearing exhaustion. In approximately August 2005, the Fund ceased paying benefits under the Soloky award. Wells has assumed all payment obligations under the Soloky award since that time.
¶ 6 On May 11, 2010, Wells filed a complaint seeking a judicial declaration that the Fund improperly terminated payments on the Soloky award and the $300,000 cap does not apply to the Fund's obligations regarding the Soloky award. On July 7, 2010, the Fund moved to dismiss the complaint. On October 14, 2010, the circuit court entered an order construing the motion as one seeking summary judgment. On November 12, 2010, Wells filed its response and cross-motion for summary judgment.
¶ 7 On January 20, 2011, the circuit court heard oral argument on the motions and, pursuant to the court's request, the parties filed supplemental briefs addressing the relevance, if any, of the Self-Insurers Advisory Board and Self-Insurers Security Fund (see 820 ILCS 305/4a-5, 4a-7(a) (West 2004)) to the case. On May 5, 2011, the circuit court entered a memorandum opinion and order granting ...