Note: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.
Unfortunately, as I write this, the Tampa Bay area seems to be directly on the path of Hurricane Ian. I have received a few texts today from friends and colleagues who have been asked to evacuate. I start by saying that my thoughts are with everyone affected by the storm.
If you are an out-of-state public adjuster and want to head to Florida, please know that, unlike Puerto Rico, Florida does not offer emergency licensing to public adjusters, only company adjusters. You must pass the licensing exam in Florida to adjust claims, whether or not you are affiliated with a Florida firm. You must also hold a license to solicit claims in Florida. And Florida has also recently required a license for your company, even if you are appointed unless your company is owned and operated by you as a single licensed adjuster and you do not employ any other public adjusters. If you don’t have your company license yet, make sure that your contract and all work performed is in your individual name until licensed. A violation of the licensing law is a felony of the third degree with a fine of up to $10,000.00
- Florida has many contract rules, which changed slightly in 2022, as they do every year, and now Florida requires an Ale Addendum for residential claims.
- Statute of limitations rules have changed for a new or “reopened claim”—the limit is now two years.
- You cannot offer to pay for a roof repair or any other type of inducement to enter into the contract.
- Remember, there are many advertising rules and fee caps on residential claims, including a fee cap of 10% on catastrophic losses.
- Fines for certain violations are doubled to $20,000 during a state of emergency.
Another way to ensure you have the latest information is to join FAPIA, whether you are a resident or non-resident public adjuster.
And if you are not a licensed public adjuster and try to adjust a claim, you will be penalized and have potential criminal liability.
Roofers, for instance, have rules on advertisements, cannot offer a rebate or an inducement to inspect the roof or handle the repairs and must provide an estimate for work contemplated. There are also required terms in the roofing contract and assignment of benefit agreements.
Know the rules before you act:
Knowledge is the treasure of a wise man.