Choosing an Umpire


A qualified umpire is a competent, disinterested, impartial individual who has been chosen by the two appraisers or appointed by a judge and who is charged with the responsibility of evaluating the differences in the amount of the loss set by the two appraiser.
The two appraisers should attempt to agree on an umpire no later than 35 days after the initial demand of appraisal is received, or 15 days after the appraisers first begin the umpire selection process. Usually this process is started by both appraisers submitting to the other a list of candidates whom they consider qualified. If one appraiser agrees to use an umpire off of the other appraiser's list, the choice of umpire is usually set. I say usually because courts have ruled that the umpire must be competent and disinterested. It is commonly understood that the umpire has the responsibility to reveal to the two appraisers if he is either partial or bias toward either the insurer, insured, or one of the appraisers. He should be transparent in revealing any past business dealings, employments, or on-going dealings with any of these named parties. If the umpire fails to make the appropriate disclosure and he is later accused of showing partiality during the appraisal process, it is possible that the whole appraisal process could be brought under suspect and the award overturned by the court.

If after 15 days, the two appraisers cannot agree on a choice of umpire, most policy's state that either party may request that the choice be made by a judge of a court of record in the state where the described location is located. Notice the policy says may request that the choice be made by a judge. If the two adjusters want to continue to attempt to choose an umpire, there is nothing in the policy which would forbid it.
If the appraisers agree on a selection of an umpire, it is common that a Declaration of Appraisal, DOA, will be executed. This document will state who the appraisers chose for their umpire and a place to sign their name and attest to the same. After the Declaration is signed, this document should then be sent to the umpire of choice. It is understood, that the umpire should then declare if he is not suitable to act in this capacity due to bias, perceived bias, or incompetence. If the umpire agrees to serve in this capacity, he will then sign the DOA and returned the signed copy to both parties. Once this process is finished, the two appraisers will schedule their joint inspection.

Gary Laird Ahrens • PA License # A002288 • Firm License # G008507 • AA Florida Public Adjusting Agency, LLC • 34540 Appaloosa Trl., Zephyrhills, FL 33541 • 866-993-3760

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