ALTERNATE RESOLUTION CLAIMS DISPUTE
Nelson Boswell, Jr., JD, SRA, CGC
The Homeowner's Insurance Appraisal Clause is a clause found in most homeowner's insurance policies. It is a means by which claimant or carrier (homeowner and insurance company) can use to settle disputes concerning coverage amounts (all coverage, not just property damage). Either party may invoke the appraisal clause.
The Appraisal Clause sets forth the rules. It allows each side to pick an "appraiser". The appraiser reads the policy, inspects the property and examines documents associated with the claim. A good appraiser is skilled in estimating property damage and presenting their findings and opinions in a report. The more thorough and defensible the report, the better.
An Insurance Appraiser and a Real Estate Appraiser are two totally different things. The latter must be licensed/certified in the state in which they practice, the former need not be.
A Real Estate Appraiser can certainly act as an Insurance Appraiser. However, a big difference between the two is the former estimates market value, while the latter does not. Homeowner's Insurance does not cover losses in market value. It is intended to make the claimant whole as a result of property damage, and other reimbursables that may be covered in the policy.
The Insurance Appraiser identifies, and estimates repair costs of the damaged improvements. In addition to that, coverage identified in other parts of the policy are added to make up the total award.
The skill a real estate appraiser might bring to the table are report writing and presentation skills, provided the RE appraiser is skilled and experienced in estimating property damage and reading insurance policies for coverage. Because some insurance disputes go to trail, or to a point where depositions are taken, it is also important that the Insurance Appraiser be skilled in providing expert witness testimony.
Picking the right Insurance Appraiser is important, especially where identification and estimation of repair, replacement, reconstruction or reproduction cost of damage to structure is central to the case.
Nelson Boswell is experienced and highly qualified in the area of Insurance Appraisal. He brings exactly the skills needed to ascertain loss award fairly and accurately. He is an experienced Homebuilder and Certified General Contractor and Real Estate Appraiser. He has experience in providing expert witness testimony in court or deposition in a wide variety of case types involving real estate.
We use and are very proficient in the latest version of Xactimate Cost Estimation software, MSB Cost Estimation software, RS Means Estimating Software, as well as many other types of cost estimating and CAD software for the creation of very persuasive and defensible reports.