The typical homeowner’s insurance policy has a clause allowing the parties to use appraisal to resolve disputes. The process is intended to quickly and economically determine the amount of a loss in cases of disagreement. Like many aspects of Oklahoma law, the use of a three person panel should be approached with the advice of an experienced attorney. The Oklahoma appellate decisions heavily impact the outcome.
In simple terms, appraisal involves three parties that serve as a panel.
Each side chooses someone to act as a disinterested appraiser. Then, the two appraisers choose the third person, known as the Umpire, by agreement. If the two appraisers are not able to pick the Umpire by agreement, then either side can ask the court to select the Umpire.
Appraisal is a way to reach a decision as to the amount due and close the file.
Many times, this dispute resolution tool can be an efficient and fair method to settle a disagreement. But, there can have an unpleasant ending if requested by parties who do not know the law. Some insurers and some policyholders have the DIY or “Do It Yourself” approach to problems and prefer to avoid lawyers and fees. However, in our experience, the DIY thinking is a good way to end up very, very unhappy.
In certain situations, it’s a wonderful tool. The process just has to be done right.
Sometimes, it seems like insurance claim resolution goes through cycles. We see periods where insurers go this route on a lot of claims, but then we go through stages without it being used at all.
We enjoy seeing claims settled, please don’t hesitate to contact us.