The ASA Appraiser –The Right Choice for the Insurance Professional

October 2, 2022

By Warren H. Morss, GIA GG, ASA, MGA®

Being in business for over forty years, I have seen many changes in society regarding our personal and business lives. Our ability to embrace change and adapt to new concepts and technologies has defined our path through the first decade and a half of the twenty first century. It is along this path that I chose to further my professional career in the Gem & Jewelry discipline of the professional appraisal field.

As my career as a jeweler/appraiser progressed, it became evident that as technologies advanced, our understanding of appraisal techniques needed to advance to keep pace. The appraisal process had evolved into an accompaniment of the sale, an add on or a follow up which became nothing more than an expectation of the client. Unwittingly, we devalued the appraisal into an afterthought devoid of proper content and lacking in consistent form. The mantra became, “hurry up and don’t forget the appraisal.”

I found ASA while looking for a professional valuation organization which could offer continuing education, networking, and a forum to reach out to my colleagues across the country. ASA offers all of this as well as accreditation within my chosen field. ASA is the only organization representing gems & jewelry appraisers requiring mandatory testing to remain a certified member. In order to become a candidate for membership, a prospective member must complete both a 15-hour Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) course and the ASA Ethics Exam. All ASA Members are held to these standards and must take a USPAP update courses on a regular basis in order to maintain their designation with ASA.


The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and The ASA Code of Ethics

USPAP begins with the Definitions section followed by the Preamble which defines the purpose and goals of USPAP as, “…to promote and maintain a high level of public trust in appraisal practice by establishing requirements for appraisers. It is essential that appraisers develop and communicate their analyses, opinions, and conclusions to intended users of their services in a manner that is meaningful and not misleading.” (1)

The Rules follow the preamble and consist of: The Ethics Rule, The Record Keeping Rule, The Competency Rule, The Scope of Work Rule; and The Jurisdictional Exception Rule.

Standards and Standards Rules cover the development and communication of an appraisal report within the different disciplines (i.e. Real Property, Personal Property, Machinery & Equipment, and Business Valuation).

Statements on appraisal standards are specifically for the purposes of clarification, interpretation, explanation, or elaboration of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

The ASA Code of Ethics and the Rules section in USPAP are parallel in many areas emphasizing Ethics, Competency, and Scope of Work. The current ASA Code of Ethics can be found on the ASA website:

Why Do I Need an ASA Appraiser?

An ASA appraiser has the most up-to-date educational information available in the industry today and is fully USPAP compliant in the development and communication of an appraisal report. In the event of a large valuation (over $20,000.00), many insurance companies will only accept an appraisal report prepared by a Graduate Gemologist who has received a designation from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). While specialized education within the gemology field can be advantageous, the GIA does not currently have any course offerings available on valuation, appraisal practice, or USPAP.

From my perspective, A Graduate Gemologist may be able to provide additional information needed to complete an appraisal assignment, but is not trained in proper appraisal practices, and is therefore not competent by USPAP Rules of Ethics and Competency.

There is an overall lack of education within the insurance industry regarding the USPAP compliant appraiser versus the graduate gemologist. A USPAP compliant appraisal report contains all pertinent descriptive information required by the insurance company to repair or replace an item(s) of like kind or quality. The difference is in the depth and quality of the appraisal report. It is in this arena where the ASA appraiser has more overall education including an understanding of relevant markets, approaches to value, and valuation techniques.

“The appraiser must clearly and specifically define the market, the market level, the kind of buyers and sellers, that relate to a specific value. If market specifics were adequately defined in appraisal reports, we would reduce the apparent chaos in the appraisal community…When the jewelry appraisal community gets trained in proper appraisal procedures and applies them, then the quality of appraisal reports and the consistency of appraisal values will improve. The consumer, jeweler, appraiser, and third parties such as insurance companies and banks will all benefit. Appraisal training and the proper application of known appraisal principles is the only way…” (2)

The ASA appraiser is the most appropriate choice for insurance professionals who require appraisal reports prepared by an accredited professional appraiser in a meaningful and relevant manner with a focus on proper ethical conduct, competency, and consistency. The Graduate Gemologist can be utilized by the USPAP compliant appraiser in the development of the report, but lacks the training to prepare appraisal reports. A USPAP compliant appraiser is the right choice for the development and communication of an appraisal report. A USPAP compliant appraiser who is also a graduate gemologist, is an even better choice.

Did you know that ASA offers gems & jewelry appraisal classes for retailers, insurance and other allied professionals? Current examples include:

  • GJ103 - Fundamentals of Jewelry Appraising
  • GJ201 - Foundation I: Core Principles of Appraising Gems and Jewelry
  • GJ202 - Foundations II. Appraising Gems and Jewelry for Insurance Scheduling
  • GJ203 - Appraising Gems & Jewelry for Advanced Assignments: Development and Report Writing

To learn more about ASA and its gems & jewelry education, credentialing and membership programs, visit

To hire an ASA appraiser today, visit or call (800) 272-8258.

Warren H. Morss, GIA GG, ASA, MGA®, is a jeweler/appraiser with 40 years of experience in the jewelry industry specializing in wholesale and retail markets as a manager and owner of multiple businesses. He is currently the owner/principle of Boston Estate & Gem Appraisal, an independent gem and jewelry appraisal service. He is a Graduate Gemologist (GIA), an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) and a Master Gemologist Appraiser® (MGA®).

(1) ASA Education Committee, PP204 Principles of Valuation: The Legal and Regulatory Environment, ASA Course, 2014

(2) Rapaport Diamond Report, Interview: Elly Rosen, Martin Rapport, June 5, 1992