Should Appraisers and Umpires be licensed in Florida?
Let’s start by explaining this type of Appraisal in more detail. In insurance terms, appraisal is a provision in some policies that offers a dispute resolution process. Here is how it typically works if you have an insurance claim dispute. Each party retains its 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, the courts may appoint one), and 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.
Appraisal: If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will choose a competent appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request from the other. The two appraisers will choose an umpire. If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we may request that a judge make the choice of a court record in the state where the “residence premises” is located. The appraisers will separately set the amount of loss. If the appraisers submit a written report of an agreement to us, the amount agreed upon will be the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by any two will set the amount of loss.
Each party will:
a. Pay its own appraiser; and
b. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.
Sample appraisal language as extracted from a policy
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 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 said, most states have licensing for insurance companies and independent and public adjusters. With the licensing comes oversight, rules, and regulations. As with most topics, some pros and cons would come with licensing appraisers and umpires. Pros would include ensuring that all appraisers and umpires uphold a certain code of ethics while keeping people out of the business who may have lost their Insurance adjuster license for one reason or another. The cons 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.