Good News for Consumers! A bill passed the New York Legislature that will broaden the scope of appraisal and help consumers recover without litigation.

On June 17, 2014, Bill A9346A unanimously passed the New York State Assembly and then unanimously passed the New York State Senate as S4756A, setting the stage to benefit insurance consumers for generations to come.

The bill, which was originally introduced on April 16, 2014, has been ten years in the making and 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 a big win for consumers because prior to the passage of this bill insurers could deny a demand for appraisal on the basis that the issues involved in the claim were not solely confined to disputes on valuation of the loss, but included issues involving the scope or extent of the loss.

The new law will enable consumers to take claims to appraisal that would previously have been barred. Claims that not only involve ascertaining the value of the loss but also the scope and extent of damages involved will be open to the appraisal process. This will avoid costly litigation, and claims will be more likely to resolve sooner rather than later. The bill still needs to be signed by Governor Cuomo, but it looks promising.

If you have a claim that you believe may require appraisal or where appraisal has been denied, this bill may well be relevant to your claim. If you are uncertain, it is always a good idea to consult experienced claims counsel.