Appraisal in first-party property insurance claims is meant to resolve disagreements over the amount of loss. Appraisal is a contractual alternative dispute resolution process. But often the parties dispute involves some disagreement over the scope of the covered damages resulting from the loss. Insurance carriers often argue that disputes involving the scope of damages caused by a loss should not go to appraisal. Well, Governor Cuomo officially signed a bill into law on November 21, 2014, allowing appraisals in New York to determine the "scope of loss."

In the Summer of 2014, the bill passed the New York State Assembly and Senate but needed to be signed by Governor Cuomo. That signing did occur on November 21st. It amends Insurance Law Section 3408 subsection (c) dealing with court ordered appraisals under fire insurance policies. The bill makes it clear that “Scope of Loss” issues are subject to appraisal.

This is an important law for consumers because it provides legal support in New York for policyholders to take claims to appraisal that insurance carriers previously would have tried to keep out of appraisal. This will avoid costly litigation, and will result in claim payments to policyholders sooner.

If you have a claim that you think could be eligible for appraisal by this law and appraisal has been refused by the insurance carrier then please speak with experienced representation about your options.