Homeowners May Be Stripped of Their Choice of Storm Damage Appraisers

A bill in the Iowa legislature would place restrictions on using appraisals for future storm damage, and opponents worry about the impact on households who have seen their share of recent disasters.
The measure, which has already cleared the House, would prohibit homeowners from seeking their own appraisals in determining what caused the damage. Only insurance companies could make the determination.
Christopher Rants, lobbyist with the American Adjuster Association, said it would force property owners who feel shortchanged to go to court.


Supporters of the bill, including the Iowa Insurance Institute, said a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling upholding the current statute gave appraisers too much opportunity for claims work. But opponents countered the 2020 derecho storm should serve as another reminder homeowners need avenues to recover from disasters.
The recent backlash has muddied the future of the bill in the Senate.
Rants contended it should be a concern for all property owners in Iowa, because it could remove a right they have been afforded for decades.


He suggested adding the restriction would also affect the business community in a natural disaster. While the bill sailed through the House last month, a key Senate member has cast doubt on advancing the bill in the upper chamber. A decision is expected in the coming days.


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