Florida Policyholder Permitted to Videotape Appraisal

 Monday, August 2, 2021

 JD Supra

In Silversmith v State Farm Insurance Company, 2021 W.L. 2910240 (Fla. 4th DCA July 7, 2021), Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that policyholders may openly videotape an inspection by the insurance company appraiser, despite the state’s ‘two-party consent law.’

The court held that an appraiser has ‘no legitimate expectation of privacy while in the insured’s home for the inspection.’ Silversmith v State Farm, 2021 WL 291040, p.1.

The facts revealed that the insurer invoked the appraisal clause on a property loss, and the policyholder sought to videotape the appraisal.

The insurer’s appraiser objected on privacy grounds. The policyholder filed an action seeking permission to videotape the appraisal of her home, and the trial court refused.

Relying on Section 934.03 Florida Statutes 2020 (the two-party consent rule), the trial court denied the request, ruling, ‘no one may audio/video record the inspection unless all participants consent.’ Id.

On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held (1) ‘nothing in the policy precluded [the videotaping] of an appraisal inspection,’ and (2) the insurer’s appraiser ‘has no legitimate expectation of privacy while in the insured’s home for the inspection.’ The appellate Court reversed the trial court order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Does this mean an insurer can videotape the inspection conducted by the insured’s appraiser? Not on the plain language of this decision. The court decided this case on a legitimate expectation of privacy in the insured’s home. The court found the insurance company’s appraiser did not have one; the question remains whether a court will hold the insured’s own appraiser to this same privacy standard. So, based on this case, an insured in Florida has the right to videotape the insurer’s appraiser during an inspection of the insured’s home.