Colo. Appraisal Dispute Seems To Discount True Impartiality

By Thomas Blomstrom, Paul Ferland and Charles Rocco (August 29, 2017, 11:35 AM EDT) -- Is it possible to be an advocate, yet remain impartial? If that concept seems oxymoronic to you, then the recent decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals in Owners Insurance Co. v. Dakota Station II Condominium Assoc., 2017 WL 3184568 (Colo.App. 2017) is recommended reading. Owners concerned an insurer's attempt to set aside a property damage appraisal award based on the partiality of the insured's appraiser. Consistent with the standard appraisal provision contained in most property policies, the Owners policy provided that the insurer and the insured would each name a "competent and impartial appraiser." The court denied the insurer's petition, holding that the insured's appraiser's conduct, (including pre-appraisal meetings with the insured, communications with the insured's public adjuster during the appraisal, an alleged partnership between the appraiser and the public adjuster, and aspects of the appraisal contract which capped the appraiser's fees at 5 percent of the replacement cost value determined by the appraisal), did not indicate a lack of impartiality. That holding alone is unremarkable. However, the Owners court ventured further, interpreting and defining what it means to be an "impartial appraiser" as a matter of law, and the result may shock you....

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