Disinterested Appraiser: State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Valenti

Recently, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida held that a public adjuster is not “disinterested” when named as an insured’s appraiser. An insured sustained a loss and retained a public adjuster. As part of the agreement, the insured assigned 20% of any recovery with respect to the loss to the public adjuster. Disagreements regarding the amount of loss arose and the insurer demanded appraisal. The insured named the public adjuster to serve as appraiser. The insurer objected to the public adjuster serving as the appraiser, due to the policy language requiring a “disinterested” appraiser. The court reasoned that “the actions of the insured’s appraiser combined with his financial interest” violated the terms of the policy. The court was able to “easily conclude” that the public adjuster was not disinterested, thereby reversing the circuit court’s judgment.