Early this week, I was sent the following letter from a Florida public adjuster. He contacted me because he reads this blog and knows I am always interested in hearing about trends in the adjustment of claims.
May 25, 2011
XXXXX, FL 3xXXX
RE: Company: Tower Hill Prime Insurance Company
Claim Number: XXXXXXXXX
Policy Number: XXXXXXXX
Date of Loss: April XX, 2011
Dear XX XXXXXX:
We are in receipt of your recent XXXXXX claim. It is our understanding you have retained the services of XXXXXXXX, a public adjuster, to assist you in documenting you claim. We will continue to adjust your claim with you and your public adjuster according to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.
In the event that the insurance company may require reasonable access to the insured property, we will contact you or your public adjuster to coordinate any such arrangements. Please be advised that you are required to provide access to an on-site inspection of the insured property so long as the individual acting on behalf of the insurance company provides proper notice. Moreover, you [sic] public adjuster may not restrict or prevent an individual acting on behalf of the insurance company from reasonable access at reasonable times to the insured property.
Although you have retained the services of a public adjuster, we may still communicate directly with one another regarding the possible settlement of your claim. Additionally, we will advise you of any settlement offers proposed by the insurance company, as you have the right to approve the terms and conditions of any settlement. Your public adjuster may not prevent, or attempt to dissuade or prevent, you from speaking privately with the insurer, company or independent adjuster, attorney or any other person regarding the settlement of your claim. Moreover, your public adjuster may not restrict or prevent an individual acting on behalf of the insurance company from reasonable access to you, at reasonable times.
Please be advised that a public adjuster may not represent or imply to you that insurers, company adjusters or independent adjusters routinely attempt to, or do in fact, deprive claimants of their full rights under an insurance policy. Public adjusters, company adjusters, and independent adjusters are required to act with dispatch and due diligence upon undertaking the handling of a claim to achieve a proper disposition of the claim.
Also, be mindful to review your public adjuster’s contract to ensure that the fee structure or arrangement complies with Florida Statute 626.854.
Nothing herein constitutes, or should it be construed by you as a waiver of any of the right of the Tower Hill Prime Insurance Company under its policy of insurance, not is it the purpose of this letter to waive any of the policy terms and/or conditions.
We look forward to working with you and your public adjuster in the prompt settlement of your claim. Should you have any questions, please contact me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX extension XXXX
This particular letter from Tower Hill is dated May 25, 2011, just eight days after Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 408. This letter, I assume, was written by Tower Hill (or Tower Hill’s lawyers) to tell policyholders to be weary of their public adjusters and reference a few of the changes put in place because of SB 408. I am sure Tower Hill was hoping its insured would read the letter and become concerned about the role of their public insurance adjuster, or at least question whether the public adjuster was following the rules.
But in this instance, the insured’s reaction was exactly the opposite. The insured called his public adjuster and expressed great concern about Tower Hill. He said that after reading the letter, he was more worried about whether his insurance company would be fair. Tower Hill wrote, “[p]lease be advised that a public adjuster may not represent or imply to you that insurers, company adjusters or independent adjusters routinely attempt to, or do in fact, deprive claimants of their full rights under an insurance policy.” This statement in particular caused the insured to express to his public adjuster heightened concern about how Tower Hill handles and pays claims. The insured expressed gratitude towards his public adjuster and said he was glad he hired the public adjuster to help him through the claims process.