Top 10 criteria to select an Insurance Claim Appraiser

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  • Author Gregory Siviur
  • Published October 30, 2023
  • Word count 714

When it comes to choosing an insurance claim appraiser, the process typically unfolds as follows: A dispute arises regarding the assessment of damages to a homeowner's insured property. The insurance company offers a valuation that tends to be on the lower side, while the policyholder counters with their own, usually higher, estimate of the damages.

It's important to note that the insurance company is not denying coverage but rather asserting that the damages are less than what the policyholder claims. Frequently, the insurer's estimate falls below the deductible, effectively resembling a denial. However, since it isn't a formal denial, the case can be subject to appraisal, provided there's an appraisal clause in the insurance policy.

If you find yourself in a situation where appraisal has been requested and you require an appraiser to represent you in your insurance claim, the following qualifications should guide your selection process. The foremost criterion is Competence. An adept appraiser should possess an understanding of insurance, proficiency in estimating the damages, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to present your claim logically.

Your chosen appraiser should ideally have experience in estimating repairs for insurance losses and a solid grasp of insurance policy language. It's often challenging to find an individual who meets both of these requirements. Someone might have extensive experience preparing repair estimates for a construction company but lack a deep understanding of insurance policy provisions. Conversely, a retired insurance agent might comprehend policy provisions thoroughly but fall short in preparing a detailed and accurate estimate of your damages. The best choice is to seek an experienced insurance adjuster to assist you in this matter. Before making your decision, it's prudent to verify whether the appraiser you're considering is required to be licensed as an insurance adjuster in the state where the loss occurred. Florida currently does not require an insurance appraiser to be licensed.

This adjuster can be either an independent adjuster or a public adjuster. To distinguish between the two, it's essential to understand their roles. An independent adjuster, when handling claims, can only work for the insurance company or an independent adjusting firm contracted by the insurance company. In contrast, a public adjuster exclusively represents the policyholder and advocates for their interests in disputes with the insurance company. When making your choice, consider which of these professionals is better suited to represent you.

The following are the top ten criteria to consider when selecting an appraiser to oversee your insurance claim. Remember that even if you are qualified to do so, you cannot handle your own claim appraisal.

  1. Background in Construction: Ensure the appraiser has a background in construction or related fields to accurately estimate damages.

  2. Insurance Policy Knowledge: Verify that the appraiser is well-versed in the nuances of your insurance policy, as this can significantly impact the appraisal outcome.

  3. Knowledge of Florida Building Codes: Familiarity with Florida Building Codes is essential for compliance and accurate assessments.

  4. Collaboration Skills: Assess the appraiser's ability to collaborate effectively with other parties involved in the appraisal process.

  5. Communication Skills: Confirm that the appraiser can present your claim clearly and coherently during the appraisal.

  6. Licensing: Determine if the appraiser is a licensed Florida insurance adjuster, even though it may not be mandatory.

  7. Experience: Inquire about the appraiser's prior experience in conducting appraisals.

  8. Capacity: Ensure that the appraiser can effectively manage your appraisal process, considering their workload and availability.

  9. Fees: Understand the appraiser's fee structure and charges upfront to avoid any surprises.

  10. Umpire Selection: Lastly, discuss how the appraiser selects the Umpires for the appraisal process, ensuring an unbiased and fair resolution.

In conclusion, the process of selecting the right insurance claim appraiser is a critical step in resolving disputes related to property damage

assessments. When faced with a situation where the insurance company's valuation differs significantly from your own, and appraisal becomes a viable option, the above qualifications and criteria should guide your choice.

By carefully considering these criteria and conducting thorough research, you can select an appraiser who will represent your interests effectively in the insurance claim appraisal process, helping you achieve a fair and satisfactory resolution to your dispute. Remember that, in most cases, handling your own claim appraisal is not permitted, and a qualified appraiser can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.

Gregory Siviur is a FL licensed building contractor with decades of experience in construction mgt. & estimating, and 12 yrs. experience adjusting claims. He has obtained the following: FL Building Contractor # CBC 036484, FL Adjuster Lic. # W061551, Univ. of FL School of Building Construction – Masters Degree, Univ. of S. FL– BA Business Admin., Xactimate Level 1 & 2, HAAG Residential Roof Insp., NCI Commercial Roof Insp., IICRC WRT, FSRT, and OCT certifications.

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