The independent appraiser should not be part of the claim in which the automobile diminished value is in question, but is usually brought in from the outside to preserve impartiality. The St. Lucie Appraisal Company’s purpose and function is definite and simple. We must determine the existence and amount of diminished value in order to make the claimant whole. In doing so, our focus is always the fair and equitable treatment of both our client and the insurance company involved.
In a sense, the diminished value claim is an intellectual problem for both the insurance company and the claimant. The St. Lucie Appraisal Company stands as a surrogate for the claimant, as well as being the competition for the insurance company. That is, the independent appraiser finds the relevant information and, if he is playing fairly, presents his Diminished Value Report to the claimant along with a demand letter. The independent appraiser needs to emphasize the significance of each bit of information. Experience and intelligence mesh, making the independent appraiser a person who finds solutions to problems and dilemmas that seem to have no solution. He makes the connections that reveal the solution, as well as revealing the truth about the situation at large. He is a necessary figure in the access he has to people – the sales managers at recognized new car dealerships. He should be a specialist in disseminating information accurately in order to arrive at fair diminished value figures. Insurance companies must respect both the effort and the subsequent results.
Even while testing our clients resolve to insist on fair treatment and trying to outlast them, insurance companies have given The St. Lucie Appraisal Company’s Diminished Value Reports a trust they rarely give those of other independent appraisers. Our reports compel them to face and to acknowledge when they are perpetrating unfair claim practices. But there is no doubt that the claimant must be persistent in following up on any suggestions the independent appraiser may make.
Though automobile diminished value claims are not an uplifting topic for an insurance company, an Automobile Diminished Value Report prepared by The St. Lucie Appraisal Company influences them to recognize and admit both the harmful and time-consuming sides of claim mishandling, hopefully leading them from a dangerous and misleading ignorance.
Answers and solutions can be found by people who are dedicated to the search for truth and who know where and how to look for the information that can lead to those solutions and answers. Insurance companies should, at the very least, use their capabilities of observation and logic to develop alternatives to their delay, denial and misinformation tactics. Low-ball settlement offers are contrary to good business despite how insurers view third-party diminished value claims because they project an appearance of bad faith industry wide.
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