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The Broker’s Valuation Proposition

Brokers offering the extended service of appraisal can see their client satisfaction levels increase and gain an advantage over their competitors.

Originally published in Canadian Underwriter on July 6, 2019.

Written by Kelly Juhasz, President, Canadian Chapter, International Society of Appraisers

Working with a qualified appraiser can help you better understand your client’s property and level of risk. And in the case of a loss, a qualified appraiser can ascertain a justified value and help you make your clients whole.

I am a qualified appraiser for art, antiques and other objects of personal property. I am educated and trained in specialized valuation methodologies and knowledgeable in these specialty objects. My involvement is as an independent expert having no interest other than determining a proper value.

Over the past eight months, I’ve performed four appraisals for 15 pieces of art that had been stolen or destroyed. In each instance, none of the insureds had any documentation on the artworks. Only half of the insureds could remember important details about their artwork, such as the artist’s name. Fewer than half had photographs I could use to conduct the appraisal and, in return, help justify the values they claimed. It is important to note that my professional involvement in each of these claims was based on an invitation by the claims adjustor, not the client.

Had these clients, their brokers or insurance companies been in possession of an appraisal report to accompany their policies, their claims could have been processed more expeditiously, thus saving valuable time, resources and, in many cases, money. A report prepared by a qualified appraiser offering an unbiased, third-party opinion of value increases the validity of the methodology and credibility of the value conclusions.

As a skilled and qualified personal property appraiser, I have been able to work without documentation or descriptive details to create a probable description, an acceptable market range and a determination of parallel objects for each claim. This provided estimated replacement costs that claims adjustors could support. To do this, I needed to work directly with the insureds to better understand their buying and collecting habits and the quality of their personal property objects. Regarding artwork, asking questions about the subject, scene and elements of paintings provides insight into their age and genre. Performing a market analysis of a sampling of parallel artworks – essentially, similarly-themed works created around the same time and selling for similar values – will reveal trends that suggest an increase or decrease in value at the time of loss. Such analysis helps to narrow down a broad range of possibilities.

By engaging directly with a qualified specialist, clients are more likely to feel that their insurance companies and brokers are providing them with the level of individual attention and expertise that their art requires. Plus, the high level of transparency and service will leave clients with positive feelings about their insurance professionals.

Kelly Juhasz is an art advisor and a qualified appraiser specializing in fine art and antiques. She is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers and president of the Canadian Chapter.