I am writing this blog in terminal C at Salt Lake City International Airport after spending two days in conference with my Merlin Law Group colleagues and one of the foremost insurance experts in the nation. This eye opening seminar confirmed that many in the insurance industry are not good neighbors, they are not there to help, and now exist solely for profit. Hurricane Sandy has given New Jersey an education in property insurance claims handling. Many are learning what those in Florida, Texas, and other storm prone states have known for decades.
One issue that we spoke about in this seminar reminded me of a question that a public adjuster recently asked me. How can insurance adjusters engage in such egregious conduct and maintain their licenses? It is a good question, and one I am sure many have asked themselves. There is, unfortunately, a simple answer to the question. New Jersey does not license adjusters that represent insurance carriers. The state only licenses public adjusters who represent policyholders.
Wondering why, I looked into licensing in other states. Louisiana, Florida, and Texas, which frequently face natural disasters, require insurance company adjusters to be licensed. New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which have been fortunate to avoid substantial damage from major storms until recently, do not require insurance company adjusters to be licensed.
Law regulating the insurance industry tends to be reactive as opposed to proactive. New Jersey has not licensed insurance company adjusters because the insurance industry has a strong lobby and has not been subject to widespread criticism until recent months. Thus, there was nothing to react to, and the Legislature completely ignored those on the front line working for the carriers. I suspect New Jersey will move to regulate insurance adjusters in light of the industry’s terrible reaction to Hurricane Sandy.