After years of experience in various positions relating to the insurance industry I have amassed a vast knowledge base on the subject. In the past I have been asked to write articles for publications, some of which I have listed below. Occasionally something happens to me in a case or I see or read about an event in the insurance industry that piques my interest or raises my ire. When that happens I climb on my soap box and pontificate.
When an insurance claim reaches the appraisal stage, the parties invariably brace for an adversarial experience, but it need not be one. If the participants realize that appraising is a mixture of both science and common sense, the process would result with no one feeling as if they had lost something as a consequence of the appraisal.
Insurance differs from other businesses in that a "benefit" accrues to the insured, in the form of a check, only after a loss occurs. Up until that point, the relationship between company and policyholder has been largely one-sided. Once a fire, wind, water, or other loss occurs, however, all that changes. The policyholders come to the carrier and expect a check for their particular losses. They expect to receive benefits based on the size and validity of the claims and, let's face it, after years or decades of paying premiums, policyholders may feel that the company owes them.
The four hurricanes that devastated much of Florida last year were well covered by the news media, but the storm of controversy that followed has been largely ignored. Thousands of property owners, who learned months later that their insurance carriers had not adequately estimated their damages, are turning to professionals like me for support.
In this case, the carrier had already lost the appraisal, an award in excess of $750,000 was issued and they were ordered to pay. However they appealed the case knowing they were going to lose in the hopes of dismissing the award and the having the court order a new substitute appraiser. The carrier was contending that Mr. Pellet was biased because he and his wife personally filed a hurricane claim against the same carrier. This carrier used the same tactics in 3 different courts around the state and was denied each time.
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