Summertime means insurance appraisals are in full swing in Minnesota.  Like many things, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused additional and unexpected issues as individuals wrestle with social distancing and other safety issues.

Appraisal is an out of court dispute tool designed to help policyholders and insurance companies resolve disputes over the amount of loss.  This process includes on-site inspection of the property and is commonly used in Minnesota when policyholders and insurance companies can’t get on the same page.  Scheduling an appraisal of a large property loss often takes weeks or months of planning as parties and participants coordinate schedules to find a date where all are available. Appraisals are typically scheduled through the summer weeks in advance, which was the case this year (2020) too. Due to the pandemic, many appraisals this year have been postponed.

The reasons for the postponement have varied. In some cases, there were disagreements over whether the governor’s stay-at-home order disallowed insurance appraisals. In other cases, there were concerns over social distancing both from residents of the buildings subject to appraisal and from appraisal participants.

There are many issues over protocol including whether participants are required to wear mask as well as whether anyone has any authority to require masks or COVID testing. Unlike a courtroom that has a judge, there is not necessarily a presiding person who makes the rules in appraisal. Rather, appraisal protocols are usually put in place by common agreement of the parties and the appraisal panel.

While lawyers are routinely involved in the appraisal process, that is probably more important now than ever to ensure there is an agreement on protocol so the claim can be resolved without delay.  Our firm regularly handles multifamily, commercial, and large loss disputes and stands ready to assist expediting the process even in the midst of this pandemic.  If your appraisal is delayed or you simply need help setting the groundwork – contact us today.

Bradley Hammond – Attorney @ Smith Jadin Johnson, PLLC


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