As Hurricane Maria insurance claims continue to be litigated, we begin to see how trial courts in Puerto Rico are evaluating case by case the insurance code’s amendments such as the appraisal process. It has been a year since Puerto Rico’s Insurance Code was amended and one of the significant changes made was under law 242-2018,1 which added an “appraisal process” as an alternative to solve insurance claims. These and other amendments were discussed in my blog published on December 5, 2018, “Puerto Rico Approves Amendments to the Insurance Code to Protect Policyholders and Improve Claim Handling Procedures.”
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Mientras se continúan litigando muchas de las reclamaciones al seguro por los daños ocasionados por el Huracán María, observamos como los tribunales comienzan a evaluar y aplicar en cada caso las enmiendas realizadas al Código de Seguros de Puerto Rico tales como el nuevo proceso de “appraisal”. Ya ha pasado un (1) año desde la enmienda al Código de Seguros de Puerto Rico que incluyó como uno de sus cambios significativos bajo la ley 242-2018,1 el proceso de “appraisal” como alternativa para solucionar reclamaciones al seguro. Ésta enmienda junto a las demás fueron discutidas dentro de mi “blog” publicado el 5 de diciembre de 2018, titulado “Puerto Rico Aprueba Enmiendas Al Código de Seguros Para Proteger A Los Asegurados Y Mejorar Los Procedimientos Para Solucionar Reclamaciones”.
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Memorandums of Appraisal, Appraisal Parameters or similarly named documents which outline the scope of the appraisal are becoming more and more common. The case of Church Mutual Insurance Company v. Circle of Light,1 is a good reminder that all appraisers should know the terms and limitations set forth in any such document before proceeding to appraisal.
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Public adjusters in Florida have routinely appointed themselves as appraisers for their policyholder clients. This generally saves the policyholder money and provides a person already familiar with the loss and ready to move the appraisal process along. However, based on the trend and discussion in legal court cases, it appears that this practice of self-appointment will be a thing of the past.
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The person that can qualify as an appraiser for a policyholder in Colorado is still a guess with policyholders not exactly knowing what to do about the selection of their appraiser. One Colorado insurance company law firm has their clients select very biased appraisers against their own customers and then challenges almost all policyholder appraisers as biased. This firm with their clients’ blessings, then tries to have the customer collect nothing arguing that the customer breached the policy by selecting a “biased” appraiser while having a “polecat” selected in the wings as their own appraiser.
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Last week, the Texas Second Court of Appeals issued Lambert v. State Farm Lloyds,1 which follows the Texas Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Barbara Technologies Corp. v. State Farm Lloyds.2

In a recent blog post, Payment of an Appraisal Award: Is There More, I reviewed Barbara Tech and its companion case, Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds.3 These two landmark cases hold that an insurer’s full and timely payment of an appraisal award, bars an insured’s causes of action for breach of contract and any common law and statutory bad faith claims, to the extent the bad faith claims seek only actual damages that are considered lost policy benefits.
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