The appraisal clause is a provision embedded into virtually all homeowner policies. It is meant to resolve disputes concerning the “amount of the loss”. As one might imagine, it would be difficult and a poor use of time to present such issues to a jury, so the policy hopes to amicably resolve this type of dispute outside of the courtroom. The property adjusters at RPA can assist you with this process. Since the appraisal process is designed to resolve disputes over “amount of loss” issues, many people have undervalued the issue of causation with respect to the outcome of the appraisal. From our perspective, one of the keys to successful appraisal resolution is recognizing that in many cases it’s not simply a dispute over damages alone. The underlying causation, repairability or a matching issue can also be as equally critical.
The appraisal clause works by allowing each party (the insurer and the insured) to retain an independent (“disinterested” or “impartial” and “competent”) appraiser. Each party bears the expense of their respective appraiser, and the appraisers will then attempt to negotiate together and come to an agreement on the scope and dollar amount of the loss (damages). If they cannot agree, then they mutually select a third person who acts as the final umpire. This third individual must also be impartial. The two appraisers then submit their differences to the umpire. The umpire then decides which of the two appraisers is most correct, and the claim amount is then settled based on the umpires recommendation.
To respond to this market dynamic for our clients, Residential Property Adjusters, Inc. (RPA) employs full-time property adjusters who can act as either appraisers or umpires. Our property adjusters are excellent negotiators with proven ability in software estimating, critical thinking and problem solving. Through careful analysis and understanding what does and does not work in a particular situation or with a particular group, we know how to speed up the process, and help all parties to understand the resolution.
We recognize that an ideal appraiser or umpire:
• Will render a timely and impartial decision.
• Understands the insurance policy
• Is very competent with estimating and home construction
• Observes high standards of conduct.
• Has integrity.
• Has the ability to render an intelligent decision.
• Commands respect.
• Recognizes a responsibility to the public.
• Guards the integrity and fairness of the appraisal process.
• Can promote an efficient and just process.
• Is able to maintain the confidentiality of the process.
• Is trustworthy.
If you are an insured or an insurance company representative, we can assist you during this process. Feel free to contact us to learn more.
If you are interested in hiring our firm to handle an appraisal for you, the following is our general fee schedule:
We charge a flat $150 per hour for the time and expense of our contractors or employees. This includes a review of damage estimates, meeting other appraisers or umpires, writing reports and conclusions, and property inspections. We also charge a mileage rate of $1.25 per mile. This accounts for the drive time of our staff member and the vehicle costs. We have found this to be better than charging an hourly rate for drive time.