AMARILLO COURT OF APPEALS RULES THAT APPRAISERS NEED ONLY BE DISINTERESTED IF REQUIRED BY THE POLICY
Last month, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that an appraiser in an automobile-damage dispute was not required to be disinterested if the policy did not expressly require it. Texas Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. v. Sampley, No. 07-13-00151-CV, 2015 WL 3463028, arose when the insured’s personal vehicle suffered property damage and the parties disagreed about the scope of loss. The insured invoked the policy’s appraisal provision and selected as her appraiser the same body-shop employee who had repaired her vehicle. After the insured rejected Texas Farm Bureau’s demand for her to select a disinterested appraiser, Texas Farm requested a trial court to remove the appraiser.
On appeal, Texas Farm cited a Texas Supreme Court case from 1919 that discussed the importance of disinterestedness on the part of the appraisers. The Court rejected Texas Farm’s position, noting that the cases it cited involved appraisal clauses that expressly required appraisers to be both competent and disinterested. Because the appraisal provision in the present case only required appraisers to be competent, the Court declined to impose a disinterestedness requirement independent of the contract language.