On May 11, 2015, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law SB 439, which modifies and changes current laws relating to public insurance adjusters.
The bill, first introduced by the Oklahoma Senate on February 2, 2015, “aims to protect Oklahoma storm victims, and ensure transparency and accountability in the insurance adjusting process.”1
While the new law sets multiple regulations concerning insurance adjusters and public adjusters alike, some of the more notable new regulations for public adjusters are as follows:
New requirements for public adjuster contracts:
Every contract for services to be rendered by a public adjuster shall be in writing and contain the following information:
1. Legible full name of the public adjuster signing the contract, as specified in Insurance Department records;
2. Permanent home state business address and phone number;
3. Department license number;
4. Title of "Public Adjuster Contract";
5. The insured’s full name, street address, insurance company name and policy number, if known or upon notification;
6. A description of the loss and its location, if applicable;
7. Description of services to be provided to the insured;
8. Signatures of the public adjuster and the insured;
9. Date contract was signed by the public adjuster and date the contract was signed by the insured; and
10. Full salary, fee, commission, compensation or other considerations the public adjuster is to receive for services pursuant to the following guidelines:
a. if the compensation is based on a share of the insurance settlement, the exact percentage shall be specified,
b. initial expenses to be reimbursed to the public adjuster from the proceeds of the claim payment shall be specified by type, with dollar estimates set forth in the contract and with any additional expenses first approved by the insured,
c. compensation provisions in a public adjusting contract shall not be redacted in any copy of a contract provided to the Department upon request. Such a redaction shall constitute an omission of material fact, and
d. the public adjuster and the insured shall both indicate their agreement to the compensation provision(s) of the contract by initialing next to the provision(s) in the contract.
No public adjuster shall charge, agree to or accept as compensation or reimbursement any payment, commission, fee or other thing of value equal to more than ten percent (10%) of the amount of the insurance settlement claim paid by the insurer on any claim resulting from a catastrophe declared by the Commissioner to be an emergency pursuant to subsection A of this section. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a public adjuster providing public adjuster services on behalf of a for-profit commercial entity.
Criminal Punishment for the unlicensed practice of public adjusting:
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association, company or corporation to act as an adjuster without first obtaining a license pursuant to the Insurance Adjusters Licensing Act. Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as set forth in Section 10 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
The new laws go into effect on November 1, 2015. In the meantime I recommend all public adjusters licensed in Oklahoma read through the new regulations carefully and make sure they are in compliance.
As always I’ll leave you with a (mildly) related tune. Here’s The Flaming Lips, with Oklahoma’s “Official State Rock Song,” Do You Realize?: