Steve Badger and Chip Merlin

Steve Badger has certainly made his mark Texas property insurance law over the last decade. Bob Norton has similarly made a name for himself over the same period of time by forming the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association (IAUA) and getting some of the top legal talent and practitioners in the insurance industry teaching at IAUA programs.

Here is the agenda starting next Tuesday October 1 and ending with a certification tests on October 2:

The IAUA has a Code of Ethics which its members must adhere:

Conducting Appraisal to resolve disputes in insurance claims engages the public trust. Appraisers and Umpires shall put the duty for fair and honest conduct of the Appraisal Process above the Appraiser’s or Umpire’s own interests in every instance. The following standards of conduct define the ethical behavior, and shall constitute a code of ethics that shall be binding on all members of the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association:

I. Members of the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association shall not engage in practices which may discredit the IAUA or the Appraisal process as a fair, expedient and cost effective Alternate Dispute Resolution method.

II. Appraisers and Umpires shall conduct themselves with the highest of ethical standards in their dealings with policyholders, the insurance companies, the public, Appraisers, Umpires, claim professionals, and experts.

III. Appraisers and Umpires shall remain current on the laws and regulations affecting their professional responsibilities by attending such classes, seminars and training as necessary.

IV. An Appraiser or Umpire shall not undertake any Appraisal concerning matters with which they are not currently competent and knowledgeable, or which otherwise exceeds their current expertise; Appraisers and Umpires must be competent for the particular matter.

V. Appraisers and Umpires shall conduct themselves in such a manner as to command respect and confidence and shall approach Appraisals with an unprejudiced and open mind, while advocating for their client as legally appropriate.

VI. Appraisers and Umpires shall not injure the reputation or professional practice of colleagues.

VII. Appraisers and Umpires shall not approach Appraisals in a manner prejudicial to the policyholder or insurance company.

VIII. Appraisers and Umpires shall handle every Appraisal with honesty and integrity, and allow a fair Appraisal to all parties without any compensation or remuneration to himself or herself except that to which he or she is legally entitled.

IX. Appraisers and Umpires, upon undertaking an Appraisal, shall act with dispatch and due diligence in achieving a proper disposition of the Appraisal.

I have come to appreciate this Code of Ethics promulgated by the IAUA. Some read very similar to the regulations and statutes found in many states. One in particular should be highlighted:

Conducting Appraisal to resolve disputes in insurance claims engages the public trust. Appraisers and Umpires shall put the duty for fair and honest conduct of the Appraisal Process above the Appraiser’s or Umpire’s own interests in every instance.

This can be pretty hard to do at times – especially if one side is not playing fair and getting “down in the mud” with gamesmanship. I am not certain what can be done in that situation without getting down in the mud with them other than to call out to the Umpire about what needs to be done to stop the gamesmanship.

One thing that I have respected from Bob Norton is a sense that his organization stands for fairness. I have found his discussions very enlightening and have learned quite a bit from other panelists with their ideas.

One idea that I will be raising next week is to make certain that when considering Law and Ordinance awards when made as part of an appraisal, the panel should have all three coverages broken down to Coverage A, B, and C subparts within the Law and Ordinance Award.

You may be asking “why is this so important?” Remember that Coverage A under Law and Ordinance is for the undamaged portion of the structure that has to be demolished. This portion of coverage is due immediately to the policyholder!

Hope you can come to the IAUA appraisal seminar next week in San Antonio. I promise not to be too hard on good ole Steve Badger.

Thought For The Day

Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.
—Dennis Prager

  • Steven Badger

    Thanks for the call out Chip! I always enjoy it when we have an opportunity to “clash”! I still have that belt hanging on my office wall from our first TAPIA debate several years ago.
    Dialogue on these issues is always beneficial — to both sides. I’m looking forward to another productive discussion. And thanks to IAUA for the invite to do it again.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you….and many of your blog readers…in San Antonio.
    Steve Badger
    ps…..and thanks for not being too hard on good ole me!