The Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association held a training session in Orlando today. The session was led by Robert Norton. The audience had a number of very experienced appraisers and umpires, many with insurance company backgrounds. Robert Norton has been teaching on this area for twelve years. He is truly an expert on the various issues involved with appraisal. I learned a lot from him and the discussion with the audience.
Continue Reading What is a “Competent” Umpire for a Property Insurance Appraisal?

In August of 2018, an explosion and fire severely damaged the insured’s bar, restaurant and bowling alley.1 Auto-Owners Insurance Company (“Owners”) insured the buildings and personal property at the time of the loss. After resoling their dispute over coverage on damage to the building, Owners made payment. However, a dispute remained between the parties as to amounts owed for business personal property (“BPP”) and electronic data processing equipment (“EDP”), among others.
Continue Reading Court Orders Parties to Appraisal Even Though Neither Party Requested It

The new property insurance tactic to avoid payment and thereby delay or deny appraisal is to claim that the policyholder asked for too much and the claimed amount is fraudulent. A Florida case, American Capital Assurance Corporation v Leeward Bay at Tarpon Bay Condominium Association,1 which will be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court, will eventually decide these issues.
Continue Reading Can Insurance Companies Avoid Appraisal by Alleging the Amount Claimed is Fraudulent?

Appraisal is generally thought of as a quicker and more cost-efficient method of resolving property insurance controversies than litigation. That is not the case when an appraisal is followed up with litigation. Further, while infrequent, there are instances when appraisers and umpires can be drawn into the litigation controversy, as evidenced by recent filings in a Texas federal case involving a Baptist Church and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.1
Continue Reading Appraisals Can Lead to Nasty Legal Battles—Should Appraisers and Umpires Get Insurance Protecting Them?

One thing I learned during my two years as a young associate at Paul B. Butler & Associates (lka Butler & Pappas) was that saying you were a champion of saving the insurance company money by putting people in jail for insurance fraud or not paying based on the account of fraud made for happy insurer clients eager to send us more business. Insurance companies send business to claims vendors who go out of their way to say that the insurance company’s customers are frauds and deceitful people for any number of reasons. Actual insurance fraud is never right. Yet from the amount of it, which insurance claims vendors say is occurring, insurance companies must sell the most defective product in America if it magically transforms so many law abiding people into crooks.
Continue Reading Who Is Defrauding Whom When It Comes To Big Differences In Appraisal Awards?

I just finished speaking on a panel with Steve Badger and Jon Held. I want to thank the leadership of the Windstorm Insurance Network to allow us to provide this presentation. My hope was to get insurance industry affiliated individuals with a depth of experience and who are leaders in the field on the panel. Held and Badger come out of central casting as the best people for that. I felt that we could talk about any issue based on our national experiences. Having a policyholder advocate like me on a panel in such a discussion is what the Windstorm Conference is all about. I learned a lot and hope readers of this blog who attended did as well.
Continue Reading Impressions of The Windstorm Panel Involving Steve Badger and Jon Held

Property insurance policies have long-contained appraisal and arbitration provisions.1 Although both avenues offer insureds the ability to resolve their claims through extrajudicial means, each has clear distinctions and similarities. In certain circumstances, some issues may only be resolved through a trial court.
Continue Reading What May and May Not Be Resolved Through Appraisal or Arbitration in Florida?

Dogs and cats harmoniously together? It happens at the Windstorm Insurance Conference where insurance company representatives and policyholder advocates analyze property insurance claims handling trends. Jonathan Held, Steve Badger, and I will present and analyze some of the most cutting-edge issues surrounding appraisals of property insurance disputes. This year’s Conference will be held virtually February 1-4. The live Conference will be held May 24-26.
Continue Reading Jon Held, Steve Badger, and Chip Merlin Discuss the Hottest Appraisal Trends and Controversies At The Windstorm Conference

While appraisal can be used by an insurance company as a method of delaying claims and avoiding complete payment, there are circumstances when entering appraisal is in the best interest of the insured. Whatever the reason for seeking this cost-efficient procedure, it is important to consider what the courts view as prerequisites to utilizing their discretion to compel appraisal.
Continue Reading How to Force an Insurer into Appraisal in Florida – Satisfaction of Post-Loss Obligations