Note: This guest post is by Brian S. Goodman. Brian is a partner at the Baltimore law firm of Goodman & Donohue, LLC. He is also General Counsel to NAPIA.
As a guest blogger for Chip Merlin, I am honored to write a bit about the history and purpose of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), an organization for which I have served as General Counsel for over two decades.
NAPIA was founded in 1951 by a group of visionaries who knew that the growing industry of public insurance adjusting needed to become a profession, with strict rules of ethics, code of conduct, and a cogent governing philosophy. So, they gathered at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1951, before this writer was even born. William Goodman and his lawyer, the legendary Paul Cordish, assembled there with other legends such as George Gordon to comprise this organization’s first constitutional convention, and they hammered out a Constitution and By-Laws. Most said it would not last two years, and yet here we are, seventy years later, thriving and advocating for the profession of public insurance adjusting throughout the country.
What, exactly, does NAPIA do to protect and advance the profession? To begin, through our licensing efforts, public adjusters are now fully licensed in 46 of the 50 States, plus DC. This is up greatly from even 15 years ago when the licensing states were only about 33. The profession is now recognized and accepted throughout the country, thanks in large part to our efforts in drafting and passing the NAIC Model Act number 228 for public adjusters. That act, or some iteration of it, has been passed as the licensing bill in 20 or so of the 46 licensing states. One cannot overstate its influence and importance to the profession.
Speaking of the NAIC, NAPIA, through our terrific NAIC liaison Ann Frohman, attends all NAIC meetings and has a presence at the table. We are, now, indeed in “The Room Where It Happens” with all state Insurance Commissioners and regulators for issues impacting the profession. While fifteen years ago the very thought of this many may have seemed a pipe dream, we now have a seat at the table, and NAPIA is relied upon as a resource for state insurance departments as they enact laws and deal with issues relevant to public adjusters. Such recent issues include, but are not limited to, dealing with issues of the Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA), Assignment of Benefits (AOBs), solicitation rules, and the like. I have spoken and addressed various committees at the NAIC, and if a problem arises in a particular state, no doubt NAPIA has contacts with that State’s Insurance Department to address any concerns.
NAPIA has also throughout its history developed learned papers on relevant and hot button issues impacting public adjusting. We have issued white papers on UPPA, Appraisal, and policy terms excluding an insured’s right to hire a public adjuster. The Cordish Competition at the University of Maryland School of Law, named in honor of my predecessor, each year generates a scholarly paper in an area relevant to public adjusters. NAPIA’s own code of ethics is contained in the Model Bill and, consequently, has been enacted in numerous state public adjuster licensing statutes.
NAPIA also has written many amicus briefs addressing issues on appeal that arise impacting the profession. Over the last few years, these briefs have been filed in many states, namely Texas, Colorado, Connecticut, and even at the United States Supreme Court, on topics as varied as UPPA, appraisal, matching statutes, and the like. We believe that it is our responsibility to analyze an issue on appeal, and, if it has an impact to public adjusters on a national basis, and/or impacts one’s ability to practice this profession, we do our best to set forth our position to the appellate court.
In addition to being a resource for state insurance departments, we are also a resource to our members throughout the country. Whether it be in interpreting our By-Laws or ethical rules, or opining on an issue or helping with a potential legal problem, NAPIA’s mission is to protect and help grow the profession and to be sure that public adjusting is practiced in a proper and ethical way, to benefit the profession and the insureds our members assist.
NAPIA is dedicated to the public adjusting profession and making public adjuster services available to policyholders. Those public adjusters wishing to improve their skills and protect their profession can join at this link: www.napia.com