When a home or business is damaged and the claim reaches an impasse, the appraisal process included in most commercial and residential insurance policies can serve as an alternative dispute resolution method to avoid litigation or at least resolve portions of the claim.
It is the job of an appraiser to assess and evaluate the damage and provide an impartial, informed estimate of the value of the loss. The policyholder and the insurance company both will have their own independent appraiser assess the damage, and if the two appraisers cannot agree then a third appraiser will be used to resolve the differences. The third appraiser is called an umpire and is either agreed between the appraisers or appointed by a court having jurisdiction. Appraisal boils down to an agreement of two of the three appraisers.
In theory the process is pretty straight forward. The process of each appraisal and the role of each appraiser is determined by the language in the insurance policy and any file specific orders entered by the presiding court. These directions may be in relation to the level of relationship to the parties, how communication may proceed, timelines for completion of mile stones in the process.
Local laws and regulations exist in some states and not in others. Colorado appraisal has adopted the DORA rules seen here:
Having worked as insurance appraiser for most of my 20 years in the business I have seen many ways to ruin an appraisal and even seen them sabotaged by the appraisers or parties for either side. These are the assignments to not take. When the parties and their lawyers or public adjusters are working as advocates in relation to their clients that is their role but not necessarily the role of an appraiser. Knowing and working to this distinction is the art of job.
Licensing is required in some states including Louisiana. The La. Dept of Insurance has created a licensed insurance appraiser designation that requires submission of qualifications and a background check.
Please see my license as an example of same: John Minor’s Louisiana Department of Insurance Registered Appraisers Designation.
Hiring an experienced appraiser can keep the process moving along smoothly so you can get back to your life as quickly as possible or you can get a claim that was not getting done completed. The process begins when you first hire an appraiser, which is best done as soon as possible after the parties have reached an impasse. At this point, you must submit a letter to the opposing party to notify them of your intent to appraise the property damage so that they, too, can hire an appraiser. Both appraisers will appraise the loss. In some occasions this work is done jointly and in other occasions it is not. During this assessment and research phase, the appraisers will puts their years of experience into providing an extremely accurate report. These appraisals may have expert reports within them in regards to weather, engineering, air quality, business interruption, or any other segment of the claim. We feel our group excels in this portion of the job out of a willingness to work our files. We have experience in the realities of the time and cost of materials needed to correct the damage, and applicable building codes and regulations that govern same. All of this information will be factored into the replacement cost value detailed in the final report.Having an accurate, comprehensive appraisal report is your best asset when coming to a fair number for the value on a disputed loss.
If you are in need of appraisal services, call John Minor @ Complete today to ensure you get a fair, honest appraiser that will provide you a honest days work and come back with a good number.
Complete, Inc. offers insurance claims appraisal service Nationwide, with a focus on Gulf Coast States of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.