A new legislative bill filed in Florida will have a significant impact on the Florida public adjusting profession if it becomes law. The proposed law enlarges the amount of time a policyholder can cancel a public adjuster contract, provides for a cancellation of a public adjuster contract if estimates of damage are not provided to the insurer within 45 days, requires notice to the insurer within three days rather than 30 days if a public adjuster is retained, and provides that the fee percentage amount when a client hires a public adjuster after an insurer’s first offer “shall” be 10 percent of the new amount collected.
The bill states in part:
If the public adjuster enters into a contract with an insured or claimant after the insured or claimant unsuccessfully negotiates an insurance claim payment and the public adjuster is successful in obtaining a higher insurance claim payment, the public adjuster shall receive a commission consisting of 10 percent of the difference between the initial insurance claim payment offer made to the insured and the final insurance claim payment obtained through the work of the public adjuster after entering into the contract with the insured or claimant.
The policyholder cannot negotiate a fee less than 10 percent?
The bill further provides the following in the event of an emergency:
If the contract was entered into based on events that are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor, an insured or claimant may cancel the public adjuster’s contract to adjust a claim without penalty or obligation within 30 days after the date on which the contract is executed.
While one section that is already law requires an estimate has to be completed in 60 days, the new bill ambiguously provides for a different amount of time and provides for cancellation of the public adjuster’s contract:
An insured may cancel the contract with no additional penalties or fees charged by the public adjuster if such an estimate is not provided within 45 days, subject to the cancellation notice requirement in this section.
I strongly suggest that public adjusters read the entirety of this bill and then follow guidance from the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. This proposed law appears to be very ambiguous, not congruent with other provisions, and undoubtedly will need to be revised.
There is no companion bill in the Florida Senate. My prediction is that there will be a companion bill in the near future.
Thought For The Day
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.