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4 Things to Watch Out for When Selecting an Appraiser

Over the years, we have seen time and time again, firms attempt to enter the insurance appraisal industry and exit it just as quickly. Whether they are just starting up or trying to add bundled services to their portfolio, it becomes quickly apparent that they lack the experience and knowledge to produce reliable and comprehensive replacement cost appraisals. 

An insurance appraisal is a specialized report used to protect your biggest and most expensive asset. In order to mitigate risk and maximize cost savings, it is vital to choose an appraiser carefully. Here are four things to watch out for when selecting an appraiser.

1. Experience

Determining replacement cost value requires more than a basic understanding of material costs. An experienced insurance appraiser also has in-depth knowledge of construction costs and trends, current building codes and municipal bylaws, demolition and removal costs, and hard and soft costs. Additionally, a thorough understanding of condo and strata law and provincial acts is important when considering the inclusions and exclusions of an appraisal. All of these factors must be taken into account; appraisers lacking in experience and knowledge can expose owners to unnecessary risk.   

Normac’s team of accredited appraisers bring together more than 175 years of combined experience that make us experts in this field. We have completed more than 80,000 appraisal reports across the country and appraised all varieties of property types. With our finger on the pulse of the construction and insurance industries, you can rest assured that your assets are always protected.  

2. Specialization

The most reliable insurance appraisers are ones who specialize in this type of valuation. An insurance appraisal requires a specific valuation method called the Cost Approach. Other valuation methods such as the Income and Direct Comparison Approaches are used strictly to determine market value appraisals; these methods consider land value or the potential income a property is capable of producing. To achieve an accurate replacement cost value, it is critical not to confuse the Cost Approach with any other as this can lead to significant inaccuracies.  


Normac specializes in insurance appraisals – it is the only type of appraisal that we do. This specialization eliminates opportunities for errorsshortens turnaround time, and increases accuracy. The result is a justifiable replacement cost that ensures your property is neither over or underinsured.  

3. Costing Sources

There are many different sources which can be used to calculate replacement costs. However, knowing which of these to use and how to properly apply the multipliers is the only way to achieve an accurate valuation for each unique property. Be wary of firms who use USA based cost guides such as RS Means or CoreLogic as their method to determine costs.  We have found these costs guides to be inaccurate as they do not consider Canadian or regional nuances.  


Normac has its own proprietary costing database that has aggregate data from our 23 years of business and more than $800B in replacement costs appraised. In addition, we refer to local cost guides and actual construction projects and data from Canadian architects and builders. When compared to the USA cost guides, our costing provides a more accurate depiction of costs, specific to the communities we serve. 

4. Accountability

Aside from experience, specialization, and appropriate cost sources, it is equally important to consider accountability. Do your emails get answered promptly? Are your reports delivered on time? Will the company be around in years two and three of your program? How do they respond when there is an issue? Moreover, some appraisers are unable to stand behind their reports and expressly deny any right to any claim which may arise out of the report’s use.  Be sure to take the time and closely review the fine print in their assumptions and limitations. 


Our clients have come to rely on us because of our established quality of service. Normac has been around for a long time; we have built trust and familiarity with our clients. Our dedicated client services team is always here to pick up the phone, answer your questions, and provide solutions. We have also invested in technologies to improve our workflow; these refined systems mean we have the ability to accommodate custom, complex, and urgent requests. We consistently strive to deliver the superior experience that our clients have come to expect.

At Normac, we believe that if you are going to do something, you better do it right. There is added value that comes with experience, specialization, custom costing, and accountability. Thanks to all of these things, we can offer our clients cost savings without ever compromising on the quality of our reports or integrity of our service. In the end, we do what we say we are going to do. And we plan to continue doing it for a long time.  

Normac provides three-year appraisal programs with complimentary updates. 
Our industry-leading reports are prepared by replacement cost experts.

Learn more about Our Expert Team
Read more about Insurance Appraisals