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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Partnering for Success: The ISA Affinity Business Partner Program

In business today, there’s a lot to be said for the company you keep. Is your company looking for an opportunity to become formally associated with the largest professional association of personal property appraisers in the United States and Canada? With the ISA Affinity Business Partner (ABP) level of membership, you can make it happen.

ABP members enjoy targeted access to ISA’s 800+ members, sharing the common goal of providing the highest level of professional and ethical service to consumers of appraisal services. ISA members are also encouraged to consult our ABP page when making client referrals, providing your company with an extra level of client exposure.

Additional benefits received from your annual dues ($600) include:
  • Listing on the designated ABP Webpage on the ISA Website, including linked company logo and up to 50 words of business description
  • Use of ISA Affinity Business Partner member logo
  • Single use of the ISA mailing list, or a guest post on the ISA Now Blog
  • A 20% discount on advertising in the ISA Annual Conference Program and Resource Guide
  • Collateral Table exposure for promotional material at ISA's Annual Conference
  • Inclusion in our listing of Affinity Business Partners in the Final Conference Program
  • Admission to our members-only, private networking group on LinkedIn

All funds raised by the ABP category of membership are specifically earmarked for educational programs, furthering the ISA mission of “advancing excellence in the personal property appraisal profession.”

Consider becoming an ABP member and see what an alignment with ISA can do you for your business. Learn more and apply.

P.S. Are you a member of ISA with business partners who might benefit from this relationship? Share this message with them or forward their contact info to ISA at

Thursday, November 5, 2015

ASK LEON: When a personal property appraisal has been done for an insurance coverage, how many years before it needs to be re-appraised?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

I have a question for you. When a personal property appraisal has been done for an insurance coverage, how many years before it needs to be re-appraised? And would a new appraisal raise the amount of the insurance premium?

Answer: Insurance coverage appraisals are done to provide adequate coverage of personal property either not covered under a standard homeowner policy or to establish a set amount of recovery in the event of a loss. The insurance company uses the amounts to set premiums to that end. Since most policies are in effect for one year, the amounts will remain in place for the stated amount until the anniversary when a new policy is issued or renewed. At that time the owner may wish to revise the coverage if a new appraisal is done, but most slide along, using the same figures assuming their coverage is still adequate.

If the economy or the markets are stable, this has proved to be somewhat acceptable, although not ideal. One can continue using the same appraisal amounts until the insurance company requests an update or they themselves institute a change. As far as I know, most insurance companies have their own internal standards for how long an appraisal can be utilized. (I’ve heard of people using the same appraisal amounts for up to seven years before changing.)

If there is industry guidance, it seems to be that three years is a good allotment, although, I haven’t seen this in writing. This makes sense in a slow moving economy where prices are rising only slightly per year. It does not make sense, however, in a volatile or fluctuating market where prices are rising or falling due to many reasons. If the market is widespread, such as the downturn in 2008, it would be wise to suggest an appraisal update on almost every item. On the other hand, if only some of the items are affected, then only they need to be appraised. For example, silver prices may fluctuate wildly and coverage amounts from a year ago may not be sufficient today, or vice-versa. Certain art may escalate rapidly due to the death of an artist, special gallery showings, or record prices at auction. It would be prudent to revise those appraisals as well.

Some insurance companies now have in place special coverage which will actually pay a homeowner up to 150% of the stated coverage amounts in the event of a loss. Others may increase coverage amounts on an annual basis at a stated amount. It might be wise to advise your client to check on their type of policy and how coverage is handled.

The best advice is to have clients check their coverage and appraisals every year, even if no revisions are made or suggested. Most will not.

An updated appraisal does not necessarily mean higher premiums – even if the stated amounts have risen. The insurance company may have changed their rates and lowered certain categories. They may have lifted restrictions. They may have designed new pricing features and add-ons. One never knows.

If I were an astute appraisal marketer, I would probably design a letter to go out automatically at the anniversary of every client’s appraisal suggesting that a review be undertaken. This would provide assurance that coverage amounts are adequate, that any additions or deletions are noted, and that the cost of such an update would probably be a lot less in the long run than having to do an entirely new appraisal in 5, 6, or 7 years. Hope this helps. I would welcome other suggestions.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Significance of Standards

By Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP

Last week, the president of The Appraisal Foundation (TAF), David Bunton, posted an article on the Huffington Post website about personal property appraising. ISA has been an active supporter of TAF for many years, requiring our members to follow and adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) for even longer. After many years of supporting USPAP and participating on The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council (TAFAC), in January of 2014, ISA became a full sponsor of TAF. In doing so, ISA is obligated to follow and adhere to the foundation's appraisal standards and qualification criteria.

The partnership between TAF and the personal property sponsors has been growing and gaining momentum through a collective process of developing further understanding of personal property essential elements. Through round-table discussions, intended user input, personal property only meetings, personal property task forces, updating of TAF website with a dedicated personal property resource page, and now this article, TAF and sponsoring personal property organizations reveal a strong commitment toward promoting professionalism and qualified appraisers. The publication of the article in the Huffington Post is important in the partnership with TAF, as it represents the intersection of interests, commitments and dedication of the foundation to the personal property community.

Members of ISA are all aware of the importance of USPAP standards, the 15-hour course, the exam and the update classes every two years. These important standards have been something ISA and our members have followed and embraced for many, many years. As a sponsor of TAF, in addition to adhering to USPAP standards, ISA is also required to follow the qualification criteria set by the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB). The criteria sets minimum hours for appraisal education, experience, and continuing education/requalification. ISA has been an active voice and advocate through membership in TAFAC, and as an Appraisal Foundation sponsor in developing – and now implementing – the new qualification criteria.

The new personal property qualification criteria are more than educational requirements, and the rationale behind advancing and promoting the criteria are central to the success of the profession. The qualification criteria are designed to advance the status and standing of qualified appraisers versus those who produce sub-standard work and are not qualified. David Bunton’s article in the Huffington Post is significant on so many levels, as it goes right to the core importance of standards and qualifications. As the title implies, What You Need to Know When Getting Your Personal Property Appraised, it seeks to inform and educate users of appraisals on what is involved in developing a professional, qualified appraisal report, while also informing on the importance of hiring an appraiser with the proper qualifications for credible assignment results.

In addition to ISA’s Appraisal Foundation activity, ISA has been both active and vocal in support of qualified appraisers, promoting our members and seeking excellence and advancement within the profession. ISA initiatives include:
  • Partnering with allied professionals such as our affiliation with Chubb Insurance in promoting qualified appraisers and educating users of appraisers
  • Developing the Circle of Trust (COT), the new coalition of ISA, AAA and ASA to promote qualified appraisers and the appraisal profession
  • Meeting regularly with allied professionals, educational providers, our compeer organizations and the IRS to discuss appraisal needs from users, and to promote qualified appraisers and appraisals
  • Hosting the finest personal property appraisal conference
  • Growing educational opportunities, mentoring and online programs
  • Developing and distributing marketing material for ISA members
  • Promoting the ISA Affinity Business Partner program to develop contacts and network with allied professionals
  • Partnering with the Foundation for Appraisal Education
The Huffington Post article written by TAF President David Bunton is one of the many important results from our partnership and cooperation with other professional organizations in promoting qualified appraisers. These relationships have become both valuable and significant to ISA from a strategic point of view to augment and enhance our ability to leverage our important message of promoting qualified ISA appraisers to the public.

If you have not already, please take a few minutes to read through the Huffington Post article by David Bunton. To the professional appraiser who follows USPAP and the important qualification criteria, it may not reveal much new information, as ISA has been engaged in promoting our members and the profession for years. However, to users of appraisers, such as collectors, trust and estate planners, wealth managers, accountants, insurance agents, bankers, accountants and other professional users of appraisals, it shows the importance of hiring a professional, qualified appraiser who writes and develops reports to the “generally recognized ethical and performance standards for the appraisal profession in the United States.”