Appraisal, a key function in the insurance industry

Jun 30, 2017 | LEADING ACTORS, Protagonista

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Appraisers fulfill one of the most important tasks in our sector: they analyze the causes of the incident, assess the consequences and provide the company’s commitment to quality. MAPFRE has 1,094 appraisers around the world and, in this report, five of them offer us more details of their important work.

TEXT Andrea Burgui | ILLUSTRATIONS Thinkstock

The work of the appraiser is essential and can be a differentiating factor in an insurance company. Performed by experts, it ranges from analyzing the causes of the incident through to the quality control and follow-up of the case, where MAPFRE’s commitment to quality stand out. This therefore is one of the most important procedures within our industry and, of course, our company.

Currently, the profession of insurance appraiser has the following specialties:
• Auto and pleasure craft insurance
• Fire and other risk insurance
• Agricultural Insurance
• Medical insurance

MAPFRE has 1,094 appraisers distributed around the world. They are the interface between customers and the company, working every day to achieve a fair, top quality outcome for all the parties involved following a claims incident. And what exactly does this entail? To find out more about this function, in this article we relate the experiences of five MAPFRE appraisers.

They are professionals who not only possess technical knowledge of their particular field, but they must also know the terminology and common practices of insurance contracts, as well as understand and deal with the applicable regulations.

Noelia Rodríguez, an auto appraiser in Spain, tells us that her work “is highly dynamic, with a great many different tasks to complete throughout the day”, all related to investigating and analyzing the causes of the incident, evaluating the damage, and defining the circumstances that determine the indemnity settlement. In addition, Natalia Serrano, head of agricultural indemnities and appraiser in Colombia, stresses that it is always necessary “to look beyond what is being asked of you,” with constant monitoring of procedures and processes according to the figures you obtain.”

MAPFRE appraisers approach their work with enthusiasm and commitment. Lucilo Jiménez, auto insurance appraiser in the Dominican Republic, tells us that becoming an appraiser was “a dream come true. Each day I start my work enthusiastically, striving to offer the best service so as to achieve the satisfaction of the customer and the company.”

Rodrigo Duarte, an auto appraiser in Paraguay, also considers customer satisfaction to be one of his priorities and says he feels fulfilled with his daily work which he describes as “different every day”. Tania Domínguez, a medical appraiser in Nicaragua, coincides with her colleagues in stating that her commitment and dedication “have opened doors for me throughout my professional career, which I love”.

The appraisal profession is habitually associated with people who are objective, impartial, thorough and, above all, fair.

However, in addition, appraisers must be people with ease of communication, people skills and a great deal of empathy, since they have to mediate between the different parties involved. As a medical appraiser, Tania has to deal on a daily basis with people
with health problems, which obliges her to “demonstrate my human side in difficult situations with customers.”

A quality that is not limited solely to those working with the health sector. For example, Natalia recognizes that her eight years as an agricultural indemnity appraiser have afforded her “a lot of character and maturity” in the face of very different challenges, as she is often faced with “very difficult topographic conditions and access to the farms.” Leaving the office and putting herself in the customer’s shoes helps her to be aware of their needs.

For his part, Lucilo affirms that what he most enjoys about his work “is seeing the smile o  every customer’s face when they get their vehicle back after an accident in perfect condition.”

Like the vast majority of sectors, the appraisal world is also being digitized, and this is seen as an advantage by our protagonists. For Lucilo, digitization places “a whole range of possibilities within our reach,” which facilitates fraud detection, parts management and issuing repair orders in a shorter period of time. Something that Natalia confirms and, moreover, she also points out that the “technological tools will enable us to simplify our work,” they will help them to “anticipate situations of risk” and anticipate customer needs. As for Rodrigo, just like his colleagues, he believes that the digital tools “will help us optimize times, which will make the whole appraisal process easier.”

An example of this are the scanned images already used by MAPFRE auto appraisers in Spain, which are integrated into the digital claims files and facilitate the identification of the parts to be replaced, automatically informing of their cost. In seconds, they assess the damage to the vehicle and analyze the cost of the spare parts and repairing the car.

Training, essential for the appraiser’s work  

As we have seen, an appraiser must be able to understand the terminology and common practices of insurance contracts, as well as know the applicable regulations. And this is not easy, given the pace at which things change these days. In this context, training is an essential element for the work of the appraiser.

In the case of Tania, she stresses that being a medical appraiser requires her to update her expertise “on studying each case she receives” and it is essential to be aware of all developments in the sector to guarantee customers the best service possible. Noelia, for her part, points out that “the demands, pace and expectations of society and the companies call for appraisers adapted to meet those needs and changes, embracing the technological innovations.” For this reason, the appraiser training offered by CESVIMAP is geared toward those who wish to pursue a career in this sector, but also to those wanting to broaden the scope of, and update, their knowledge base.
For Rodrigo, it is essential that this training should include “the keys to performing correctly in the realm of human relationships with providers and customers,” and thus facilitate the handling of certain situations that may arise when verifying a claim, such as possible fraud.

Although they are from very different parts of the world, the protagonists of this number agree that their work provides them with new challenges and development opportunities every day. This calls for great commitment and dedication, but also guarantees innovation, improvement and accountability


He started working at MAPFRE BHD eight years ago as a call center customer services representative, but soon began to train as an appraiser, a job he has been performing for three and a half years now. Above all else, he was interested in “how we could save lives by detecting a damaged part or a possible failure” and to this day, for him, his work as an appraiser “represents guaranteed customer satisfaction, with efficacy
and efficiency.”
She has been working in MAPFRE for three years, but already has 11 years’ experience in the insurance appraisal world. She notes that, over time, she has discovered “the passion, commitment and transparency of my work that often poses challenges and difficulties for me,” but which, with a healthy attitude, “I’m capable of resolving and feeling fulfilled in my work.” She is grateful for being able to perform this work and says she has taken advantage of every opportunity presented to her.
Luis Rodrigo Duarte Viveros
His professional career started asa hobby, as he was passionate about cars. So he started workingas a mechanic in a small workshop and, subsequently, he moved into more administrative and insurance negotiation tasks. Since 2008, after qualifying in CESVI ARGENTINA, he has been working as an appraiser and describes his work as a fundamental pillar within the company. It makes him feel fulfilled and allows him to “contribute my expertise and continue learning from experiences on a daily basis.”
An Industrial Technical Engineer with 16 years’ experience, she highlights the dynamic nature of her work, which allows her “to perform many different tasks, ranging from work in the repair shop to administrative duties.” She greatly appreciates the opportunity to be “continually learning and updating my knowledge of the automotive sector” which is constantly developing and changing. Furthermore, she declares that working at MAPFRE “has allowed me to achieve a healthy balance between my professional development and my personal and family life.”
Natalia Serrano Pérez
Farming is in her blood, given that most of her family was primarily engaged in agriculture and livestock breeding. That is why, after studying agricultural engineering, eight years ago MAPFRE gave her the opportunity to form part of the team and become an appraiser. She tells us that “farming conditions are harsh,” but it gives her great satisfaction to think that she is improving the yield of the farmers and enhancing their quality of life. Moreover, “MAPFRE allows me to constantly innovate and learn from each customer.”
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