Caffery, Oubre, Campbell & Garrison, L.L.P.
New Iberia
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Are your firearms claims overvalued?

For insurance companies, when dealing with claims processing, one area that can be problematic is the valuing of some items of personal property that policy holders may claim as part of the damage inventory when the suffer a loss.

Coverage disputes may cause many bad faith insurance lawsuits, and part of the dispute may include valuation issues with unique or specialized items of the policyholder. One item of potentially high value is firearms. Many policyholders in Louisiana own guns, or in many cases, more than one gun.

According to group, gun ownership is very widespread in the U.S., and that the rate is 101.05 guns per 100 people suggests that many people who suffer some insurance loss may make a claim involving more than one gun.

And when people say Americans love their guns, it is more than a figure of speech. The emotional attachments many people have towards their guns exist for many reasons. Some have had firearms handed down from parents or grandparents, and this sentimental bond with grandpa's rifle or shotgun can lead to a disconnect between the value they place on it and the actual value.

One company found that firearms and ammunition are often overvalued on claims by as much as 126 percent. This can trigger a dispute with a policyholder who believes his or her gun is worth far more than an adjuster is offering.

For any insurer with the potential for gun claims, proper and accurate documentation of valuation is the best way to defuse such disputes. If the misapprehensions regarding guns, that the all appreciate and that they are likely to be worth more than retail, should be tempered during the policy writhing process.

If the firearm is special or truly unique and possesses genuine value, it should be identified and appraised at the outset of the policy. And all of your adjusters should be trained to understand how to properly value firearms and ammo to ensure accurate claims processing and the avoidance of unnecessary litigation., "Enservio Finds Guns & Ammo Overvalued in Claims," December 8, 2014

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