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.
Like many of you, I read Chip Merlin’s blog post every day in my role as General Counsel to the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (www.napia.com). So it was with great interest that I recently reviewed his post about the proposed new licensing Bill in Kentucky. Chip has asked for my thoughts on this, which I am happy to provide.
Kentucky was one of the two states that led the charge with NAPIA for the Public Adjuster Model Act in 2005. That Model Bill has become a dominant influential model statute throughout the country, and NAPIA (myself, Dick Burr, and others) worked very closely with the NAIC in drafting and passing this Bill. Of the 46 states that license public adjusters, over 20 of these states have enacted some iteration of the Model Act, including Kentucky.
The biggest change and concern, quite frankly, is the new proposed fee caps set forth in the Kentucky Bill. NAPIA never advocates for fee caps, but if it is clear that a state wants and feels that it needs a fee cap, we always work with the state legislature to make sure that the fee cap is fair and reasonable and allows public adjusters to practice their profession ethically and responsibly. Of the 46 licensing states, about 13 (as I recall) have a fee cap (e.g., Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, and others). The Model Act is silent on a cap, leaving it out of the Model and specifically leaving it to each individual state. While NAPIA never advocates for a cap, if it is inevitable, we believe that it is better to have licensing with one as long as it is reasonable. Some organizations do not agree with this approach, but it has worked successfully for our members through the years.
Even at this moment, NAPIA is working hard on this Bill to protect our members and the profession, and this is an ancillary benefit to joining the Association. We have a national lobbyist and lobbyists in states where there is legislative activity. There are other issues in this proposed statute to run down and analyze, and we suggest that those reading this blog who are not members of NAPIA consider joining. I am not writing this to recruit members but to advise that NAPIA works hard on a daily basis to protect the industry and assure that licensing bills are fair, reasonable, and protective of the profession and of all insureds who sustain property loss.