Filed Under:Claims, Education & Training

Help wanted: 5 things to look for in an independent appraiser

Good independent appraisers can be a valuable asset to adjusters and customers, while expanding your workforce. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Good independent appraisers can be a valuable asset to adjusters and customers, while expanding your workforce. (Photo: Thinkstock)

A combination of holidays and employees taking vacation often throws a wrench into the claims environment this time of year.

Manpower is essential when it comes to expediting the claims process, especially during peak times when independent appraisers can be a great supplement to an existing staff. 

With multiple options available, it’s important to keep these five points in mind while searching for the right fit for your operations:

 1. Accuracy

As satisfying as a quick cycle time is, it is not effective if the estimate is not written accurately. Make sure your independent appraiser is known for writing consistent estimates correctly the first time. Review metrics-driven performance for accuracy, especially the net promoter score, since customer satisfaction is critical to the success of insurance agencies. An appraiser with poor results won’t be so willing to share these metrics.

 2. Competitive cycle time

Your independent appraiser should understand the tried and true statement that “time is money.” A speedy estimating process means you’ll have happy customers. The industry standard for cycle time is 24 hours to respond to your assignment, 48 hours to go see the damage and 72 hours to complete the estimate. Look for an appraiser who can at least compete with this standard — if not exceed it!

 3. National network

Since customers will likely be on the road when damage occurs to their vehicle, it’s important to have an independent appraiser nearby. If a client is in Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon or traveling somewhere in between, an appraiser from a national network can help expedite the process when it comes to preparing estimates and accounting for every detail.

 4. Heavy equipment certification

Few independent appraisers are trained in estimating heavy equipment damage. Those who are know exactly how to estimate both on-road and off-road equipment. Be sure to ask for the appraiser’s heavy equipment certification to make sure they align with your own standards. Look for companies who train their appraisers to deliver consistent heavy equipment estimates.

 5. Modern technology

With technology always changing, it is necessary that the appraisers have access to state-of-the-art hardware, software and smartphones. They should also supply their clients with modern technology options such as a smartphone estimating tool and a client portal that makes assigning claims, as well as viewing metrics and estimate statuses easy.

Keeping these attributes in mind while reviewing independent appraisers will ensure you receive the best service for your adjusters and customers.

Ken Loose is the chief operations officer at Forth Worth, Texas-based Property Damage Appraisers. He can be reached at

Related: Conn. court overturns $35M verdict against insurer in auto repair shop class action

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