The Florida Department of Financial Services proposed changes to very important sections of the administrative rules that govern public adjusters and, in part, other adjusters in Florida. I posted about the proposed changes in Take Action Florida Public Adjusters: The Florida Department Seeks to Change the Rules Again.

We have now learned the petition filed by the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters for an administrative hearing to challenge the validity of the changes was granted. In a telephonic hearing on Monday, the DFS and FAPIA agreed to a hearing on July 31, 2013, regarding the amendments to Rule 69B-220.001, 69B-220.051, and 69B-220.201., F.A.C. The Division of Administrative Hearings will determine whether the Proposed Rules are invalid pursuant to Florida Statute 120.56(2).

FAPIA’s Petition is available in full here, but the key issues relate to the proposed “physical presence requirement” of the direct supervision rule and the proposed requirement that public adjusters ensure all contractors, architects, engineers or other professionals hired by an insured are state licensed, if applicable. FAPIA’s issue with the latter is that public adjusters evaluate damage and work insurance claims, but public adjusters do not have authority to choose who will perform repair work once the claim is paid or to oversee the repair work. Public adjusters do not even have this authority during a claim. FAPIA also argues this ethical requirement is arbitrary, capricious (no other adjusters have this requirement), and unduly burdensome.

As for the amendments defining direct supervision, FAPIA explains that another section of the Code requires a public adjuster to spend 100 hours supervising each apprentice per month, and a licensed public adjuster can have up to three apprentices. A firm is limited to twelve. The proposed physical presence requirement is an obvious conflict. The physical presence proposal of the supervising public adjuster when soliciting is extremely narrow and limits licensed mentor adjusters.

These two key issues will make a difference to the profession. As always, check back here for updates regarding the proposed changes.

  • Nicole, as always, you are right on target. This issue is a response by the DFS because of Mentor’s not properly training their apprentices. I feel that the DFS is going too far in their reaching to control, however, I also feel that proper training about the rules and restrictions of apprentices would eliminate the oppressive need for control. The rules are simple; an apprentice cannot sign a contract and cannot solicit for work. Here is that rule:
    (11) A public adjuster apprentice has the same authority as the licensed public adjuster or public adjusting firm that employs the apprentice except that an apprentice may not execute contracts for the services of a public adjuster or public adjusting firm and may not solicit contracts for the services except under the direct supervision and guidance of the supervisory public adjuster. An individual may not be, act as, or hold himself or herself out to be a public adjuster apprentice unless the individual is licensed and holds a current appointment by a licensed public all-lines adjuster or a public adjusting firm that employs a licensed all-lines public adjuster.

    In typical political gobbleygook, it reads that an apprentice has all of the authority of a PA, except, … none! If we would regulate ourselves, there would be little need to be regulated by others. An apprentice can be a courier to deliver a signed contract, but cannot sign one unless the Mentor is there at that time. They can give tips on the services of a PA, but cannot solicit for work. They can go to BNI meetings, speak on the valuable services of a PA, but they cannot ask for your business. Those are the functions of an apprentice. We Mentor’s are preparing our apprentices to be the new face of public adjusting, and it is for the future of the profession with an occasional job gleaned from it. It is a task of love for the profession, not necessarily a source of incoming claims.

  • Bob Andrews

    It appears to me the FL dept is grasping for straws, desperate to find a way to interfere with the function of any PA. I really have to ask exactly who the FL dept is working for since they apparently are not trying to protect policy holders.