Most times, Policyholders and Consumers don’t get intimately familiar with their insurance policies and the provisions until a claim destroys or damages their home or business.

House Bill 79 addresses a provision called appraisal, the alternative dispute resolution process that is in some policies.

While the appraisal clause goes back over 100 years and was in the standard policies in the early 1900’s In Florida, the trend has been for insurance companies to yank out this policy provision from your insurance contract so policyholders either had to take the dish the insurance company was serving (denial, low ball payment or delay), or file suit.

Some companies have started to add back this appraisal provision to the policies written in Florida.

Here is what one client’s policy says about appraisal:

6. Appraisal. If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will choose a competent appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request from the other. The two appraisers will choose an umpire. If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we may request that the choice be made by a judge of a court of record in the slate where the "residence premises" is located. The appraisers will separately set the amount of loss. If the appraisers submit a written report of an agreement to us, the amount agreed upon will be the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by any two will set the amount of loss. Each party will: a. Pay its own appraiser; and b. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally

This bill is not final and I anticipate many, many changes. The most recent amendment is here.

But the question I pose this Sunday morning is whether our legislature is making sure it protects consumers?

We have not had a hurricane hit the state in over nine years and memories seem to be fading about those losses.

Take a look at the appraisal bill in the version that is the most up to date. The question is: Does this bill really help consumers?

Also look at the video of the presentation made on Thursday to the Regulatory Affairs Committee. The discussion of House Bill 79 begins around the 13-minute mark.

We would like to hear your comments about appraisal and this bill.