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Achieving a proper resolution to a property insurance claim is not formulaic. There is not a correct form to fill out or a specific list of tasks to perform that will resolve all claims. The type of loss, the type of structure involved, the governing insurance policy, the location of the loss, the needs of the insured are a few of the factors that come into play in formulating the best course to take to bring the matter to the most effective conclusion.
The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters defines licensed Public Adjusters as follows:
“Public Adjusters are professionals who are employed exclusively by a policyholder who has sustained an insured loss. They handle every detail of the claim, working closely with the insured to provide the most equitable and prompt settlement possible. A Public Adjuster inspects the loss site immediately, analyzes the damages, assembles claim support data, reviews the insured's coverage, determines current replacement costs and exclusively serves the client, not the insurance company.” www.napia.com
Many insurance policies contain a provision which stipulates that either the insurance company or the insured has the right to demand an “Appraisal” if that party disagrees as to the amount of the insured loss. The purpose of the Appraisal process is to offer both parties to the insurance contract a less expensive and more expedient alternative to going to court in order to reach a settlement. Appraisal has many similarities to binding arbitration but the two processes are not identical. The Appraisal Panel is made up of three participants: the insurance company and the insured both select an Appraiser to represent them in the process and a neutral Umpire is agreed upon to serve as the final decision-maker should the two Appraisers have differences that they cannot resolve.
Keys Claims Consultants, Inc. has extensive experience representing the insured in the Appraisal process. Our firm has participated in over 400 Appraisals since January 1, 2007. Our principal, George W. Keys has participated in several thousand Appraisals on behalf of the insured over the course of his career. David Charles, who has recently joined our firm as an Executive Team Member, is a Florida Department of Financial Services Certified Appraiser who has represented the insurer in over 150 Appraisals. His practical knowledge of the carrier’s outlook on property insurance files has proven most beneficial to moving our clients’ current disputes toward resolution with their insurance carriers.
We find the Appraisal process, properly utilized, can be a very effective means to properly conclude complex insurance claims.
Mediation is another form of alternative dispute resolution that may be used instead of taking a matter to the judicial system or Appraisal for settlement. Mediation is a non-binding and confidential forum wherein participants can work to improve their understanding of each other’s position and, with the assistance of a neutral mediator, attempt to work out an equitable settlement. The mediator does not impose any decision on the parties in disagreement, but rather helps the parties to reach an agreement which is mutually acceptable.
Expert Damage Valuation:
Over the past thirty-five years, our Executive Team has been on the ground working to assess the value of property owners’ losses following many of the worst natural and man-made disasters this country has seen. We have been called upon to value the loss to real property, personal property, business and industry.
Our extensive experience in large commercial losses, including Condominium and Homeowner Association insurance claims, allows us to hit the ground running when we are asked to evaluate damages. Our network of specialists and experts is ready to assist with the specific circumstances that surround the claim so that documentation and substantiation proceeds without unnecessary delay.
Representatives of Keys Claims Consultants, Inc. are frequently sought to testify on matters pertaining to property insurance claims. We are available to work with the litigation team on the determination of the financial value of the loss including damage to real estate, personal property, machinery and industrial equipment, loss of business income, and extra expense. Complex negotiations and litigation over property insurance claims often requires policy expertise and interpretation that we are experienced in providing.
Our experts have a facility for communication. We are skilled at explaining complex insurance policy provisions in a clear manner easily understandable to a jury.
Our staff includes two Wind Network Certified Umpires who are available to preside over Appraisal hearings: George W. Keys, SPPA and Dave Charles, PA. Both gentlemen have had distinguished careers working for both insurance carriers and the insured. Their extensive experience in the Appraisal process makes them Umpires who possess the knowledge to properly evaluate and adjudicate the loss.