Should Appraisers and Umpires be licensed in Florida?
Let’s first start by explaining in more detail what this type of Appraisal is. Appraisal, in insurance terms is a provision in some policies that offers an dispute resolution process. Here is how it typically works in the event that you have an insurance claim dispute. Each party retains their own appraiser to represent them through the process, the 2 appraisers mutually agree to a third party which is called an Umpire (if unable to agree one may be appointed by the courts), the 2 appraisers each set the amount of loss, if the 2 appraisers can agree to a settlement amount they will each sign the award and the process is complete but if they can not come to an agreement they will then bring in the Umpire to settle their differences, at this point any 2 of the 3 parties can sign the award to conclude the process.
As it currently stands in Florida as it does in most other states, the Insurance Appraisers and Umpires do not need to be licensed. This raises concerns as their roles played in the claims process are extremely important and in most instances their awards are binding, some would argue that an appraiser has more authority than an adjuster. That being said most states have licensing for Insurance Company Adjuster, Independent Adjusters and Public Adjusters. With the licensing comes oversight, rules and regulations. As with most topics, there are pros and cons that would come with licensing of appraisers and umpires. Pro’s would include ensuring that all appraisers and umpires uphold a certain code of ethics while keeping people out of the business that may have lost their Insurance Adjusters license for one reason or another. Con’s would include the potential rules, regulations and oversight that may interfere with the process.
Below is the excerpt from a bill that was filed on 1/21/2015.
Property Insurance Appraisal Umpires and Property Insurance Appraisers; Creates property insurance appraisal umpire licensing program & property insurance appraiser licensing program within DBPR; authorizes department to establish fees; provides licensing & continuing education requirements; provides for fees; provides grounds for compulsory refusal, suspension, or revocation of license; provides ethical standards.