An insurance appraisal is a tool used to resolve insurance coverage disputes between insurance carriers and policyholders. Typically, this issue involves coverage of a claim or the monetary amount for the loss. This process includes an on-site inspection of the property with all the parties involved. These typically take months to coordinate and could be longer in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Others this year have been postponed. The reasons for this include concerns over social distancing. While Oklahoma never had a state-wide stay-at-home order, Oklahoma City and Tulsa had shelter in place orders; moreover, some businesses closed and some Oklahomans self-quarantined. There were also questions about protocols regarding mask use at the appraisal and who had the authority to impose those protocols.
There are no guarantees of a fair hearing
The safety of clients is crucial, but there are also many other drawbacks in using an appraisal:
- There is no judge to hear both sides of the dispute and hand down a fair and considered ruling.
- The parties may pay their own fees and legal expenses regardless of the outcome.
- There are no specific guidelines for the process.
- There is no opportunity to appeal the initial outcome.
An attorney can provide valuable guidance
Attorneys are typically involved in the appraisal process here and in other states. However, a fair and equitable resolution with large insurance companies often involves litigation even though these are policies that they the carrier drafted.
Attorneys who handle insurance litigation and other insurance disputes can be a tremendous asset to the client by helping them hold the insurance carriers accountable for their own policy. They can also provide useful insights into the damages and costs related. This helps ensure that the policyholder gets the settlement they deserve.