As I stated in yesterday’s post, Chip Merlin Speaking at the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association September 18 Meeting, umpires better show up so they to learn from me and not lose business. The question of bias for umpires was answered in Zurich American Insurance Company v. Omni Health Solutions.1
The bigger question since two thirds of a panel are appraisers is: "are appraisers going to be deemed to be biased and not able to be retained to work as appraisers because their companies work for one of the parties?" I would suggest that appraisers show up as well for the seminar next week.
The bottom line is that the Court ruled that setting aside a business interruption appraisal award was not an abuse of discretion by the trial judge because based on partiality of an umpire who, at some point in appraisal process, joined a firm that performed work for insurer, the judge had a basis to overturn the appraisal award. The lesson is that Umpires in appraisals should not be members of firms that do work for one of the parties.
The question begged if that is true: "can an appraiser who is part of a firm that does work for one of the parties be subject to disqualification?"
My insurance appraisal published expert and colleague, Jonathon Held of HS Held, probably is falling out of his chair as he is reading this blog. If this is the rule for appraisers, his firm’s appraisal work will dry up because his firm does consultant work for almost all insurance companies. While that is good for his consultant business, it might not be so good for his appraisal business. In states that require appraisers to be unbiased, he and his colleagues in his firm fail miserably as being unbiased based on the rule cited above.
Do you know of appraisers and umpires that may fall into the same predicament? Maybe we should talk about it two weeks from now.
Here is the link for the seminar registration. Register before it is filled up.
Positive Thought For The Day
"Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace."
—Dwight David Eisenhower
1 Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Omni Health Solutions, — Ga. App. —, 2015 WL 4034465 (July 2, 2015).