Appraiser / Valuer
What does this person do?
Among the career paths in insurance, insurance appraisers are experts in the valuation of certain types of property, providing expert advice to insurance claims adjusters. In recent years the term “valuer” has been used to describe a person who determines the value of immovable property, while the term ‘appraiser’ is used to describe a person who determines the value of any property, merchandise, goods and assets for purposes of managing deceased estates. An insurance appraiser must keep his or her knowledge current regarding the class of property (such as automobiles) in which he or she is expert. While knowledge and analytic ability are central to the job, effective field work also requires good people skills. Appraisers typically do the following:
- Work with adjusters, and replacement or repair suppliers, to find the most cost-effective way to return clients’ property back to the state it was in before their loss.
- Evaluate insured items such as homes, buildings and vehicles.
- Review and analyse data such as past sales, title searches, engineering and alignment maps, coil maps, subdivision plans, water and sewer plans, location cost data and easements.
- Present and clarify assessment processes to rate payers.
- Prepare appraisal reports for lending agencies, insurance companies, government departments, courts, attorneys, creditors, buyers or auctioneers.
Insurance appraisers usually are entirely in the field, but some specialties, like auto claims, generally have regular hours.
Do the following statements describe you?
- You are currently enrolled in a technical college program (auto mechanics, construction, mechanical engineer) or you are enrolled in an university engineering degree program
- Your current studies involve complex technical processes and knowledge, hands-on training and preparation of technical documents
- You have a desire to learn new things and keep up with technological changes
- You have strong interpersonal skills, are detail-oriented and have a high computer proficiency
- You take direction well and are able to work independently to achieve goals
- You have a keen interest in auto mechanics and vehicle repair or construction and skilled trades
Educational requirements vary greatly, depending on the position and the employer. To be an auto damage appraiser, for example, education beyond high school normally is not necessary, but relevant experience is a must.
There are a number of learning paths that provide access to the occupation:
- A National Senior Certificate with Diploma Entrance provides access to the National Diploma in Real Estate in Property Marketing, Property Practice and Property Valuation.
- A National Senior Certificate with Degree Entrance provides access to a relevant Bachelor Degree from which the Bachelor of Science Honours in Property Studies can be accessed.
- A National Senior Certificate with Degree Entrance provides access to the four-year Bachelor of Property Studies (Honours).
- A relevant Bachelor Degree also provides access to the Postgraduate Diploma in Property Studies.
- A relevant Honours level qualification provides access to the Master of Science in Property Studies.
- Relevant Bachelor or Honours Degrees include the following disciplines: property studies, quantity surveying, construction management, engineering, commerce and law. Please check with individual institutions regarding entry requirements.
Once a SACPVP-accredited qualification has been obtained, paths one to five all follow the same route. The next step is to pass the practical knowledge exam offered by the SACPVP. This allows you to register as a Candidate Valuer. You then need to gain sufficient work experience as a Candidate Valuer in order to qualify to sit for the SACPVP admission examination to become a Professional Associated Valuer. Similarly, to become a Professional Valuer, you must have acquired sufficient workplace experience to qualify to write the SACPVP admission examination for Professional Valuers.
Path six allows for the unregistered portion of the occupation. Here the entry point is through another occupation related to either the production of or trade in movable assets. Many years of work experience in these occupations may provide access to a career in valuation of particular asset types.
Much weight is given to those with specialised education, experience and skills. Employment opportunities for appraisers are on the rise. The increase is largely due to organisations’ desire to respond to new businesses and claims. Appraisers will also need to replace retiring workers and meet the needs of an increasing population, especially in urban centres. Other Employment avenues include:
- Financial institutions
- Provincial administrations
- Local authorities
- Property development companies
The South African Council for the Property Valuers Profession (SACPVP) is the statutory body that regulates Valuers involved in property valuation. In order to retain registration with the SACPVP it is necessary to pay the annual registration fees and to comply with the rules related to Continuous Professional Development (CPD). CPD workshops and seminars with valuation as a subject are generally organised by the South African Institute of Valuers (SAIV). While membership is voluntary, it is highly recommended.
The term ‘Appraiser’ has more recently been used for Valuers who value movable assets as opposed to fixed property. Movable assets include plant and machinery equipment; vehicles and aeroplanes; sports and leisure equipment; household goods; arts and antiques among others. This portion of the Valuer occupation is not currently regulated by law.