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You may be able to invoke the appraisal clause if you and your insurance company don’t agree on the value of your property insurance claim during the claim adjustment process. Invoking the insurance appraisal process is a decision that should be carefully planned and strategically implemented because it is legally binding. As a consumer, you have rights and options that can be explained by a trusted and experienced public adjuster.
Find out more about our insurance appraiser services by calling 866-432-7093/ (321)-233-6222. At Insurance Assurance Inc., we provide top-quality insurance appraiser services to clients involved in dispute resolutions with their insurance companies for a wide range of insured losses.
What is an Insurance Appraisal?
An appraisal is a process permitted by a property insurance policy that’s used to resolve disputes between the insured and its insurer about an insured loss. When there is disagreement about the value of an insured property loss, the appraisal process would be triggered.
Invoking an Insurance Appraisal Clause
During a claim settlement, if you and your insurance provider are in disagreement over the amount of loss or the scope of damages, and the provider refuses to negotiate, you can invoke an appraisal clause to settle the claim.
“Appraisals” are professional opinions given on the value of a real property and personal property. Unfortunately, most policyholders are not familiar with how insurance appraisals work. In cases where two parties cannot agree on how much an insurer should pay as a settlement, a non-judicial manner of resolving disputes between insurers and insureds is most likely to be used.
Example of an insurance appraisal clause:
In case the insured and the company cannot agree on the amount of loss, the cost of repair, or replacement, either party can demand an appraisal in writing. Upon receiving a written demand, each will select an appraiser who is competent and independent and notify the other within 20 days of his or her identity. An umpire will be chosen by the two appraisers. If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we can request that the choice be made by a district court judge in the judicial district where the loss occurred. Following that, the two appraisers will establish the loss amount by listing separately the actual cash value and the loss associated with each item.
It is up to the umpire to decide the differences between appraisers if they are unable to agree. The amount of the loss will be determined by an itemized decision agreed upon by at least two of these three. Both of parties are bound by such a decision.
Each party is responsible for paying its appraiser and for paying the other expenses associated with the appraisal and umpire.
If there is a price dispute, an appraisal might be the fastest and cheapest way to resolve the issue. Invoking appraisals to settle claims can be a great alternative to litigation and the expense of time and resources. Appraisers must be competent and disinterested. Appraisers cannot resolve issues relating to coverage or causation. An advance appraisal agreement and an appraisal award form should be prepared to resolve as much of the appraisal process as possible
The insurance policy recognizes that appraisal can be used to conclude an award of “value,” but does not provide further guidance concerning how and what to appraise. It is also unclear what method will be used to inform the parties of the value(s). A policy of insurance does not provide any other practical guidance regarding the appraisal of disputed losses. Therefore, these issues are left to the parties or, in litigated matters, to the court.
An overview of the Insurance Appraisal Process
If the policyholder and his insurance company do not agree on the amount of damage or the scope of the loss, an appraisal can be used to settle the disagreement. In most cases, the appraisal clause is initiated either by the policyholder or the insurance company in writing. Disputes involving coverage issues cannot be resolved through appraisal.
Prior to making a final decision to request appraisal, policyholders and insurers are advised to follow the following step-by-step process.
First, if the parties cannot agree on the amount of loss, or if they can only agree on the amount of loss with some degree of certainty, a third party or peer review should always be considered before demanding appraisal. If the matter is not complex, the appraiser being considered should be asked to review it. An expert witness review before making a demand is a good first step in more complex appraisals, especially where expert witnesses may be required to testify in front of an appraisal panel. The peer review process, when conducted unbiased and objectively, is beneficial because it informs a party of the reasonableness of their position, and often results in one party or the other becoming motivated to resolve the dispute before an appraisal is requested. However, this process can also be helpful in verifying a previous position and validating the decision to demand the appraisal.
Second, when an appraisal demand is considered, the following criteria must be considered heavily when choosing an appraiser: (1) Expertise and familiarity in the item(s) being appraised. (2) The ability to navigate his or her way through the appraisal process with familiarity and competence. (3) Experience in performing appraisals given the manner in which it will probably be conducted.
The ability to understand the process and work effectively through it is perhaps the most significant of the three criteria mentioned above. Nowadays, it is often taken for granted that a disinterested appraiser will be an advocate for the client, especially when it is considered becoming increasingly acceptable for them to do so.
Third, it is necessary to know exactly what is being appraised. Upon determining to invoke appraisal, it should be made clear and unambiguous that the demand needs to be for an appraisal or multiple appraisals so that the other party knows the extent of the appraisal. The scope of the appraisal should be clearly defined before engaging in an appraisal, though this may seem obvious. The following sections will address this issue further, but it is always essential to plan the right course for a useful and final result as soon as possible. Therefore, a request for appraisal should include:
There is disagreement regarding the amount of loss.
Policy clauses that include appraisal provisions.
It must contain a concise description of the value or set of disputed values to be appraised, with some degree of specificity.
The name and contact information of the appraiser (or appraisers depending on the issues being appraised).
A sample appraisal memorandum (also called a protocol) is attached.
Example: A policyholder files a claim for damage to his insured grocery store. A “package” policy was issued which included coverage for building, contents, stock, and business interruption. Despite agreement on contents and stock losses, the amount of building damage (including upgrading code and demolition and debris removal, which are sub-limited), and the amount of business interruption loss are disputed. For buildings, replacement cost is the measure of valuation, but if they cannot be replaced, actual cash value is the measure of valuation. When making this demand, the party requesting the appraisal must be clear that he or she is requesting it to determine the replacement cost and actual cash value loss on the building, as well as the amount of demolition and debris removal damage and the amount of business interruption damage. So, there will be no ambiguity regarding the valuation issues that are submitted to the appraisal panel. By clearly stating your expectations, you will enable the other party to understand what your appraisal will encompass and will increase your chances of ultimately reaching an appraisal protocol without further disputes.
The Advantages of Insurance Appraisal
The process of appraisal offers several advantages to policyholders. The selection of an impartial and competent appraiser can help policyholders when they are familiar with the specific dispute involved. When a dispute arises over business interruption claims, for example, accountants who are knowledgeable about preparing and analyzing time element claims can be particularly helpful for policyholders.
When the right appraiser is chosen, the award is likely to be higher than if the dispute were litigated. An appraisal is also often much less expensive than litigation, and it may resolve much faster than litigation, since appraisal costs are usually lower.
The Disadvantages of Insurance Appraisal
An insurance appraisal clause can be very beneficial in solving insurance disputes; however, it can also be detrimental in many situations. From the policyholder’s perspective, the greatest disadvantage of most appraisal provisions is that the insurance company will almost always retain the right to deny the claim regardless of the appraisal award. This scenario, unfortunately, occurs all too often: parties go through appraisal, paying considerable sums to appraisers and the umpire, only to have the insurance company deny the claim. As a result, the insurer has two “bites at the apple”: if the appraisal award doesn’t sit well with it, it may deny the claim. Such a waste demonstrates the enormous power disparity between policyholders and insureds.
In a nutshell, one disadvantage of appraisal is that the difference in the amount disputed is too small to warrant a dispute.
The options for regaining more money or altering a signed appraisal award are limited after approval. As well as the long wait when selecting appraisers and waiting for them to agree on an umpire, appraisers typically take between one and two months to complete their appraisals. Furthermore, policyholders may find it hard to find appraisers willing to work for them since they generally prefer to work with the insurer. In addition, finding and having insurance carriers’ appraisers approve impartial umpires can also be challenging.
How to choose the right appraiser for your property?
Experience with type of damage and success in gaining insured in similar issues and counter results. Most umpires believe that the appraisal process is a negotiation appraisal process is being able to prove to the other side the damages the proper cost to repair the damages to gain full recovery. Further appraisal companies make advertisements to reach the agreement. The entire idea of the insurance appraisal process is to derive settlement in an expedited manner setting time frames for various events to happen. This should not influence your ability to have confident representation through your appraiser that has to be able to thoroughly set for and explain your damages if you wish for any opportunity to gain a complete and appropriate award.
Why should you consider Insurance Assurance Inc. as your Florida Insurance Appraiser?
Martin Frey, the founder of Insurance Assurance Inc. had unfortunate experiences with his insurance claim. His business was damaged due to the hurricane and was not treated fairly by his insurance company. Having everything he owned destroyed in the hurricane was devastating. Unfair treatment in his insurance claim was unacceptable. Thus, he did what comes naturally to him: Stand up for what is right. He took courses to become a public adjuster so he could help people who struggled with their claims.
We understand the frustration of battling with your insurance company to get a fair settlement for your property damage claim. We work exclusively for you, policyholders. We provide hard-earned expertise and are dedicated to trust, integrity, and responsiveness to our clients. We are constantly striving to maintain this standard of excellence. Nothing less than the best is what you deserve, our clients.
What Our Clients Say About Us
"Insurance Assurance, Inc. got me a good settlement. They are really helpful and take time to guide me through from the beginning (at that time I don't even have to pay them a dime) I am very happy with their services. If you are looking for a public adjuster that will fight for you, Insurance Assurance is who I recommend.."
"Insurance Assurance, Inc. was one of the best decisions we made after our home owners insurance low balled us on damages. This company went above and beyond to make sure we were treated fairly. Insurance Assurance not only got us results but took the time to walk us through. When the process was complete we had a meeting and were told to call with any questions we may have while doing our repairs. This company not only cares about their clients during the process but also offers their assistance til your back to normal living. I cannot praise this company enough!"
"Insurance Assurance, Inc. has been FANTASTIC. Very easy to work with, I have used a public Adjustor in the past and only wish I had known about insurance assurance!! I have prompt return calls and emails. This team is very knowledgeable and takes the time to explain process thoroughly!"