LIA's Frequently Asked Questions

Responses are based on specific professional liability insurance policy terms, conditions, limitations and endorsements in LIA's program(s), and you should confirm with your insurance agent how your policy would respond.


Legal / Claim Questions

We recommend that you do not include a copy of your license and E&O insurance declaration page in each appraisal report (to protect your personal information).

Some lenders have required inclusion of these documents in appraisal reports for many years and whether an appraiser decides to comply with this request is a business decision to make. If this request comes from an important client you may decide to comply with their request, if you do decide to include these documents in your appraisal report it will not jeopardize your coverage under your Aspen policy.

We suggest that you attempt to negotiate an alternative with your client, e.g. fax a copy of your declaration page or a certificate of insurance upon renewal of your E&O insurance every year for their records.

In the event of a covered lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit, our National Claims Counsel will appoint an attorney in your area to represent you. Our attorneys all have experience defending real estate appraisers.

Yes, you should report it. You may not have done anything wrong, but that will not prevent someone from suing you. Your instinct may be correct and the angry party may never file a lawsuit against you. However, if they do, you will have to retain an attorney to defend you and even if you are not liable, the attorney must be paid. Also, if you don't report it when you are first notified of a problem, and you notify us at a later date after it develops into a lawsuit, the insurance company may decline coverage for the lawsuit due to late reporting, depending on the circumstances of the claim.

Many appraisers are asked to enter into contracts that contain an indemnity or hold harmless provision.

We would like to emphasize that signing an indemnification agreement does not change your E&O insurance coverage and does not "void" your E&O insurance policy, as some appraisers fear. Your E&O insurance policy will still provide the same degree of protection and coverage as if the agreement did not exist and would still defend a claim against you alleging professional negligence in connection with your appraisal work. However the additional, potential risk and cost that may result as a consequence of this agreement would remain your sole responsibility and cannot be passed on to your E&O carrier.

The provisions of the policy issued to you by Aspen would not provide coverage to any of your clients pursuant to an indemnity or hold harmless agreement that you may have signed. Further, the policy would not provide any additional coverage to you for any added expense or obligation which you incur as a result of such an agreement.

The reasons for the positions above are found in the policy. First of all, Aspen's insurance is afforded to only the company or those individuals that fall within the definition of "Insured" found in the policy. The definition of "Insured" does not include any of your clients. In addition, the EXCLUSIONS portion of the policy clearly indicates that the insurance does not apply:

...to any claim based upon or arising from the liability of others assumed by the Insured under any contract or agreement, unless such liability would have attached to the Insured even in the absence of such contract or agreement;...

Whether you sign the document is a business decision for you to make. If the request to sign such a contract is made by an important client, you may decide to sign the document and accept the associated additional risk.

Coverage Questions:

This question is one of the most misunderstood items about E&O insurance. Most professional liability / E&O policies are written on a Claims-Made basis. In order for a claim to be covered two requirements must be satisfied. First, the appraisal had to be completed after the retroactive date of the policy; second, the notice of claim must be presented to the E&O carrier while the policy is in force.

If you cancel or decide not to renew your coverage, you no longer have an active policy and therefore the claim might not be covered.

Retroactive or Prior Acts coverage is available to individual appraisers or appraisal companies who have maintained continuous claims-made E&O insurance. This is the industry standard for offering retroactive coverage and it is the standard followed by LIA.

Retroactive or Prior Acts Coverage cannot be purchased if you did not have continuous E&O insurance in force.

Tail coverage is the layman's term for Extended Reporting Period coverage. Most professional liability / E&O liability policies are written on a claims-made basis, which means coverage will only be provided for claims presented during the policy period. Therefore if your policy expires, is cancelled or non-renewed you will need to purchase tail coverage* or Extended Reporting Period (ERP) to protect yourself against claims received after the policy period expires. The ERP will cover claims made after the policy expiration date against appraisals completed after the retroactive date, as long as the claim is reported during the ERP. The ERP is typically offered for a period of 1, 2, 3 or 5 years, and some policies, such as LIA's, will offer unlimited (retirement) tail for qualified applicants.

* If you purchase replacement claims-made E&O coverage with the same retroactive date as the expired policy, ERP may not be necessary.

An occurrence policy covers wrongful acts that occur while a policy is in force, regardless of when the claim is made. The only trigger for a claim to be covered under an occurrence policy is that the wrongful act must have occurred while coverage was in force.

A claims-made policy covers only claims made while a policy is in force. There are two triggers for claims made coverage to apply. The appraisal report (wrongful act) must have been completed after the retroactive date, and the claim must be reported while the policy is still in force. Timely notice of a claim is required, and coverage may be jeopardized if it is determined that timely notice was not provided to the insurance company.