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On a recent Texas public adjuster listserv which is monitored by Steve Hadhazi, Steve asked whether a public adjuster must be “impartial” if the appraisal clause has this language:

If we and you do not agree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will select a competent appraiser. The two appraisers will select an umpire. The appraisers will state separately the actual cash value and the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by any two will be binding. Each party will: 1. Pay its chosen appraiser; and 2. Bear the expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally. We do not waive any of our rights under this policy by agreeing to an appraisal.

Nowhere does the language indicate that the appraiser has to be disinterested or impartial. I recently noted how an attorney could be stricken as a “partial” appraiser in Steve Badger Stricken as Biased Appraiser. But that policy language required that the appraisers be impartial.

Steve Hadhazi’s question was answered in the recent Texas case of Texas Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company v. Sampley,1 where the court ruled:

Just as we have concluded Texas case law does not require disinterested appraisers when the parties have not included that requirement in their contract, we conclude also that the policy here does not require appraisers be disinterested merely by requiring that they be competent. To do so would be to read into the policy a provision the parties did not include.

So, the current rule in Texas is that appraisers have to be impartial or disinterested only if the policy requires it. Just because the policy requires a competent appraiser does not mean that the appraiser has to be impartial.

Positive Thought For The Day

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.—Buddha

balance

 

Written by Chip Merlin

Courtesy of  propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com

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