WINDSTORM INSURANCE NETWORK ETHICAL RULES FOR APPRAISERS IN INSURANCE APPRAISALS
The Windstorm Insurance Network, having committed to upholding the highest ethical standards for professionals in the insurance industry, hereby adopts the following ethical rules for appraisers who have completed the Wind Appraiser Certification course and who actively engage in the insurance appraisal process as an appraiser.
The Appraiser shall:
Uphold the integrity and fairness of the appraisal process by:
(a) observing high standards of conduct so that the integrity and fairness of the process will be preserved; and
(b) recognizing a responsibility to the public, to the parties whose rights will be decided, and to all participants in the proceedings.
- Accept appointment as an appraiser only if fully satisfied that the appraiser:
(a) has received and read the terms of the policy language governing the appraisal and can serve in compliance with the terms of the policy;
(b) will act with utmost integrity, full disclosure and transparency;
(c) is physically able to serve;
(d) is competent to serve; and
(e) can be available to commence the appraisal in accordance with any requirements and thereafter to devote the time and attention to its completion that the parties are reasonably entitled to expect.
- Immediately disclose any current or prior business or personal relationship with any other party, legal counsel, appraiser, umpire or expert.
- At the outset of the appraisal process, inform his or her client about the process, potential outcomes, and potential costs of the appraisal process.
- Provide the umpire with the name, address and contact phone number for the person directly responsible for payment of the invoice.
Confirm in writing any fee arrangement with the party who retained the appraiser.
- Keep true and accurate records of time, expense and fee billings.
- Have full authority to reach an agreement and execute the Award without consulting with his or her respective client.
- Participate in the appraisal process so as to advance the fair and efficient resolution of the matters submitted for decision.
- Make all reasonable efforts to prevent delaying tactics.
Make all reasonable efforts to follow the law of the jurisdiction where the property is located.
- Avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety in communicating with the Umpire.
- Make decisions in a just, independent and deliberate manner with utmost integrity.
- Decide all issues submitted for determination regarding the amount of loss.
- Decide all matters justly, exercising independent judgment and utmost integrity, and not permit pressure from outside the appraisal process to affect the decision.
- Be faithful to the relationship of trust and confidentiality inherent to that office.
- Ensure that any information used in advertising or promoting one’s services as an appraiser, including organizational certifications, affiliations and/or licenses, is up-to-date, truthful and accurate.
- Maintain records in good order during the appraisal process in accordance with any applicable rules or guidelines for preservation once the matter is concluded.
- Keep an updated list of all properties and parties for which he or she served as an appraiser for a period of seven (7) years.
The Appraiser Shall Not:
- Act as an advocate for the position being taken by the party who appointed the appraiser.
- Withdraw or abandon an appointment unless compelled to do so by unanticipated circumstances that would render it impossible or impractical to continue.
- Accept any appraisal in which he or she is not competent to perform the duty of appraiser.
- Discuss any proceedings with the umpire in the absence of the other appraiser except in the following limited instances:
(a) The appraiser may identify the parties, counsel or witnesses and the general nature of the claim;
(b) The appraiser may make inquiries of the umpire to determine his or her suitability and availability for the appointment;
(c) Discussions may be had with the umpire concerning such logistical matters as setting the time and place of hearings or making other arrangements for the conduct of the proceedings. However, the appraiser initiating the contact with the umpire should promptly inform the other appraiser; or
(d) If an appraiser fails to be present at a hearing after having been given due notice, or if all parties expressly consent in writing, the opposing appraiser may discuss the claim with the umpire who is present.
- Delegate the duty to decide to any other person.
- Advise any party or its representative about the status of any substantive issues (i.e. – estimates of damages) while the appraisal process still is pending.
- Use “confidential information” acquired during the appraisal process to gain personal advantage or advantage for others, to affect adversely the interest of another.
- Accept any fee arrangement that would yield a personal or financial interest in the outcome of the appraisal.
- Participate in a discussion to resolve issues outside the scope of the appraisal.
- Imply, through promotion or advertising, any willingness to accept an appointment that is outside the scope of his or her abilities or capacity or is contrary to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the property is located.
The Appraiser May:
- Obtain help from an associate, a research assistant, expert or other person in connection with reaching his or her decision and advise said associate, research assistant or other person of their ethical obligations.
- Engage in advertising or promotion of his or her appraisal services which is truthful and accurate.