Insurance appraisal is a legal process used to settle disputes between insurance policyholders and their insurance companies. Unlike insurance arbitration, the outcome of the insurance appraisal process is typically binding. Appraisal should be used under specific circumstances such as when you and your insurance company have a wide discrepancy as to the pricing and scope of your claim and cannot reach an agreement.
Most property insurance policies include an insurance appraisal clause that specifies how claim disputes will be settled should they arise. If an agreement cannot be reached and appraisal becomes necessary, you or your insurance company may initiate the appraisal process which is usually done in writing. From there, each party chooses an insurance appraiser. Depending on the state’s insurance laws and the terms of your insurance policy, The Public Adjusters can serve as either an external insurance appraiser or act as an appraiser on your behalf.
The Adjuster Group, LLC has unsurpassed experience in construction and insurance. When you choose us as your insurance appraiser, we immediately get to work. Though the process varies from one claim to the next, it typically involves the following:
- We review all claim-related materials including your insurance policy, estimates, correspondence, and supporting documentation.
- We conduct our own damage assessments to ensure the most accurate appraisals possible.
- We look for discrepancies between all estimates to determine if anything was overlooked, underestimated, or overestimated.
- We consult with engineers, building inspectors, contractors, and other professionals as needed.
Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Services for Disputed Insurance Claims
The Appraisal Provision allows the policyholder (you) to hire an independent appraiser to determine the value of their damages. In turn, the insurance company will also hire their own independent appraiser. The two appraisers will then get together and select an umpire. The umpire is basically the arbitrator, or what you might call the judge. If a disagreement between the two appraisers arises, they can present their differences to the umpire who will make a ruling.
When properly executed, appraisal is binding on the parties as to the amount of loss only. However, many times appraisal is improperly invoked, employed, and/or carried out. Appraisals are frequently carried out without attorneys, usually just between the insurer and the insured.
Appraisal is not arbitration. In arbitration, all contested issues are submitted to an arbitrator(s) for resolution, whereas in appraisal, only the amount of loss is decided by two appraisers and an umpire, if necessary. Arbitration and appraisal are alike in that arbitrators, appraisers, and umpires are to be impartial, independent, and free from bias. Arbitration is formal in nature functioning somewhat like a court while appraisal is an informal process conducted by two appraisers who determine solely the amount of loss. If the two appraisers disagree, then an umpire is chosen by the parties to resolve differences; if the appraisers cannot agree on an umpire, then frequently a court is petitioned to appoint one.