I have 51 years of expertise in the construction, estimating and appraisal industry. I have consulted with and provided thousands of detailed Damage Claim Estimates for homeowners in relation to their insurance claims. I am available as an independent appraiser and insurance appraisal umpire for the insurance appraisal process and insurance claim disputes. Such services are provided for insurance claim disputes and damages that are a result of:
Achieving all of this within the time frames defined in your policy is no small task, especially if you're dealing with a large loss. That's why Future Contractors has on-staff estimators, and other professionals all supporting your Appraisal process. No detail is overlooked.
Invoking an Appraisal Clause may be the way to go
If you and your insurance company are in a disagreement on the amount of loss or the scope of damages during a claim settlement, and the company refuses to negotiate, you have an option to settle the claim by invoking an appraisal clause in your insurance policy.
You may be familiar with the term “appraisal” as it relates to getting a professional opinion on the value of real estate or personal property. However, most policyholders are not familiar with the insurance appraisal process. When the two parties are unable to agree on the amount of money an insurer should pay to settle a claim, it is likely that there will be a nonjudicial means of resolving disputes between insurers and insureds.
The process of invoking an appraisal clause and its description are located in the Conditions section of most homeowners or business owners policies (BOP). Here is how it’s described in an ISO insurance HO-3 form:
The process of invoking an appraisal requires each party to 1) pay its appointed appraiser and 2) bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.
When there is a pricing dispute, an appraisal may be a faster, lower-cost option available to settle a claim. Invoking an appraisal can be an effective way to settle claim disputes without having to take the time and expense of protracted litigation.
Appraisal is a binding contractual process available to settle valuation disputes between policyholders and their insurance companies when they fail to agree on the amount of loss or the scope of damages. Either the policyholder or the insurance company may initiate the appraisal clause, which is usually done in writing. Disputes centering on coverage issues cannot be decided by appraisal.
Prior to an appraisal, you and your insurance company must have first made an honest attempt to come to a consensus as to the question of loss and damages. Appraisal is not appropriate based on an initial disagreement between the two parties without some effort to resolve the disagreement.
An insurance appraiser is a competent and disinterested professional who will evaluate the claim and value of the property or amount of the loss. Each party (insurance company and policyholder) must pick its own impartial appraiser when the insurance appraisal clause is invoked. An insurance appraiser can be an adjuster, contractor, engineer, or anyone else who is competent to value and determine the amount of loss.
Once the appraisers are selected, they work together to select a competent, disinterested and impartial individual to serve as umpire. The umpire renders a binding decision when the two appraisers fail to agree on the value of property or the amount of a property loss. A qualified umpire is someone like a retired judge, engineer, contractor, or anyone who can give an impartial valuation based on their expertise in the field.
The key to a successful appraisal is hiring an expert who knows the ins and outs of the process. Knowing who to choose as an umpire and how to agree to an impartial umpire is one of the most important factors for a successful appraisal. Also, it helps knowing how to negotiate and come to an agreement quickly with the other appraiser and umpire.
When properly executed, insurance appraisal is a great tool for settling insurance claim disputes. Before invoking appraisal, you need to have an experienced expert on your side who understands the process, otherwise the insurance company will very likely have the advantage. If not properly executed, an appraisal can compound claim problems and result in costly delays.