We have had some lengthy discussions in the past about the appraisal process and what it means and the advantages and disadvantages. State Farm was by far and away the most common user of the appraisal process. Appraisal is not a statutory obligation so for the insurance carrier to demand it, it must be included in the policy. Only a hand full of insurance companies did or do include appraisal in their polices. State Farm will no longer be one of them. As of several months ago, people with State Farm insurance will start to see that new renewals will delete the language. The rumor is they wanted to pull it because they could not reconcile the language in the appraisal provision with the language in the statute and policy that says they can hold back the subsurface money. Based on the Nichols decision, which this attorney was the attorney representing State Farm on, State Farm had to write a check for all the damages once appraisal was completed. Good and bad here. Homeowners can avoid the pesky and often frustrating appraisal process and start getting their cases back in front of juries. The bad is State Farm will likely begin to take a harder stance on settlements arguing that they can hold back all the subsurface money now. We will see what happens, with all sinkhole claims, they seem to be moving targets and insurance companies positions change like the wind.
May 7, 2012 by Morgan Barfield