Insurance property appraisers and umpires on agenda at Florida Legislature
As the old saying goes, when the Florida legislature is in session, no one is safe. Even with a decade of no major storms or Cat losses, a lot of things are going on in Tallahassee involving property insurance. Because of their potential impact, I am going to dedicate a few blogs on some of these issues as I think the outcome may in some cases negatively impact Floridians and in others bring about needed change and reform.
First is the debate on legislation involving appraisers and umpires in the alternative dispute resolution process known as “appraisal.” The appraisal clause found in most property insurance policies continues to be controversial despite years of litigation going all the way back to Hurricane Andrew. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed seeking (at least in some folk’s minds) clarity on the rules of appraisal and the conduct of the parties acting as appraisers and umpires.
Despite the court rulings in both federal and state courts that have to be taken into consideration when appraisal is used as a dispute resolution process, some insurance carriers have elected to remove this clause from their policies. Others have crafted unilateral appraisal clauses that defeat the purpose of a process that has been around since the early days of the insurance scheme long established as a worthy capitalist endeavor.
So what’s going on in this session of the legislature? Watch the debate on House Bill 79 that was filed by Representative Frank Artiles from the 118th District.
Representative Artiles is a licensed public adjuster and has served as an appraiser and umpire. While a lot of the back and forth in the debate at the House Regulatory Affairs Committee is old hat for this writer, it was fascinating to watch some of committee members grapple with the appraisal concept.
I commend Representative Artiles for taking the appraisal issue up and authoring House Bill 79. While it’s clear there is more work to be done on HB 79 before a law is on the books, this is off to a great start. If you have an interest in appraisal or you are involved in this process, take the time to watch this video. Start watching at about 13 minutes into the committee meeting and watch the end when Representative Artiles closes--he nails it!
P.S. There is a speaker right before Mr. Artiles close that you may want to ignore as he is a little off the reservation regarding the subject matter being debated.