Appraisals and Mediation
Understanding The Appraisal Process
When policyholders and insurance companies have a disagreement regarding the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property, it can be quite frustrating, especially for the policyholder, who often feels he has no choice but to settle for the amount offered by the insurance company. Whether by design or not, the insurance companies do not always notify policyholders of their right to participate in various forums to resolve property damage insurance claim disagreements which are becoming more common. Consequently, many policyholders never realize that they have a right to dispute an insurance settlement amount, nor do they understand how to properly initiate a property insurance claim dispute.
One way for policyholders to dispute their insurance company’s offer is to invoke the appraisal clause within the insurance policy. When conducted properly, appraisal can be a very effective alternative dispute resolution process.
The appraisal clause may include the following language and is a good general explanation of how Appraisal works:
APPRAISAL - "If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either may demand that the amount of loss be set by Appraisal. If either makes a written demand for Appraisal, each shall select a competent, independent appraiser. Each shall notify the other of the appraiser’s identity within 20 days of receipt of the written demand. The two appraisers shall then select a competent, impartial Umpire. If the two appraisers are unable to agree upon an Umpire within 15 days, you or we can ask a judge of a court of record in the state where the residence premises is located to select an Umpire. The Appraisers shall then set the amount of the loss. If the Appraisers fail to agree within a reasonable time, they shall submit their differences to the Umpire. Written agreement signed by any two of these three shall set the amount of the loss".
If you have a disagreement with your insurance company over the cost of repairs or replacement of your damaged property, Contact Corbitt Public Adjusting, LLC to discuss whether or not Appraisal may be an appropriate option for you.
In addition to Appraisal clauses, many insurance policies now have mediation provisions in them. Mediation unlike Appraisal is not binding and is less costly to the policyholder. The cost to the policyholder typically is defined by the mediator’s time in setting-up, preparing for and attending the mediation.
Like anything, there are procedural issues you will need to prepare for. While not all mediations are successful in terms of settling a claim, you do get the benefit of knowing and hearing in detail the other side’s position which may help you to prepare for the appraisal process.
If you have questions about Mediation, we will be glad to discuss this process with you or refer you to competent legal counsel for any legal questions you may have.