Claudia received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California Law Center in 1982 and in 1994, Claudia and her partner, Bob Dolan, formed the law firm of Gaglione & Dolan, which specializes in the defense of professional malpractice claims. Since 1987, Claudia has personally supervised over 4,000 claims and lawsuits filed against real estate appraisers across the country. By virtue of this experience, she is uniquely qualified to speak about what kinds of things appraisers get sued for and what defenses are most successful. More importantly, Claudia can discuss the types of errors that are avoidable and how appraisers can make themselves the best possible defendants in the event they are ever sued.
" I was talking to another appraiser recently at a USPAP class. He said he calls his E&O Company every time someone calls to ask him a question. He said if we don't do this then the insurance company can cancel our policies. This can't be true, right? Am I supposed to call the insurance company to report every time someone calls me with questions about a report or shows unhappiness with an appraisal?"
When it comes to deciding what needs to be reported to your E&O Company, you need to use your judgment to decide whether what you are concerned about could possibly lead to a claim. Many appraisers do get phone calls all the time about their appraisals. It is up to you, as the appraiser, to decide if the call is troublesome. Is someone just asking for information or asking you to clarify something or are they angry and accusatory? If the phone call is threatening, you should not engage in a shouting match. Instead, ask the caller to put their complaint into writing for you. This will help to tell you just how serious the situation might be. Sometimes people just need to vent and you might never hear any more from them after the phone call. If they are serious, then they will put their complaints and demands in writing and you should definitely let your insurance company know about that. Let’s say you get this complaint letter and you think the allegations are complete nonsense. You still have to let your insurance company know about it. The company does not want to just know about only valid accusations, they want to know about ALL accusations. We speak to appraisers every day who are dealing with claims or even with potential claims and we help out the best we can in the hope of keeping the problem from becoming a lawsuit. If you are really unsure about whether or not to call the carrier, I would recommend that, when in doubt…report.