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When is it time to call my E&O provider?

Q: "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?"

A: 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 often get phone calls about their appraisals. It is up to you as the appraiser to decide if the call is troublesome. Is someone merely asking for information or to clarify something, or are they angry and accusatory? If the phone call is threatening, you should not engage in a shouting match or offer to make amends. Instead, ask the caller to put their complaint into writing for you. This will help tell you just how serious the situation might be. Sometimes people just need to vent and you might never hear 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 know only about valid accusations, they want to know about ALL accusations. We speak to appraisers every day who are dealing with claims or potential claims and we help out 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.

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