Often property insurance contracts contain an appraisal clause used to resolve disputes over the cost or value of damages to the property. The intention is to provide a more rapid and clear process to set the amount of loss for the portions of the claim covered by the contracted insurance.
The appraisal process does not resolve whether the insurance is applicable or disputes determining whether the loss is covered. It only focuses on the setting the amount of the loss.
Either party may invoke the appraisal clause. Each party then hires a competent and disinterested appraiser. The two appraisers then select a competent and impartial umpire. If the appraisers cannot agree on an umpire they will ask the court to select an umpire. JAMS Denver has a distinguished and experienced group of neutrals with expertise in property damage, construction and appraisal umpiring and they are a popular resource.
Each appraiser sets the amount of loss as they see fit. If the appraisers disagree on the amount of the loss, the umpire will try to get the parties to resolve all or a portion of their differences so the dispute is either resolved completely or the differences are narrowed down. The umpire will then set the loss for the disputed property damage. In order for a decision to be enforceable, it must be agreed to by at least two of the three persons, including the appraisers and umpire.