Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier

Florida Attorney General Candidate Sean Shaw and I collaborated and drafted language that made people making the values, numbers, scopes of loss or directly or indirectly, helping determine an insurance claim amount, have an attorney license or a public adjuster license. We wanted to better protect consumers and help stop allegations of or actual insurance fraud from occurring.
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Rep. Sean Shaw
Rep. Sean Shaw

House Bill 911, effective January 1, 2018, was filed by Representative Sean Shaw and enacted by the Florida Legislature to amend Fla. Stat. § 626.854, which protects policyholders through the regulation of public adjusters. Chip Merlin discussed this new law in detail in his post on July 2, 2017. In requiring public adjusters to be licensed by the State of Florida and defining the scope of their services, the Florida Legislature also excluded the growing practice of unlicensed public adjusting and the unauthorized practice of law. By defining what a licensed public adjuster can do for policyholders, the amended law notifies contractors, vendors, accountants, and others known after a catastrophe to unlawfully solicit business to act in the scope of a public adjuster. One service to policyholders that was recently questioned was whether an appraiser is required to be licensed in Florida. In the answer to this question, many others will find the answer to other services related to public adjusters, which do require a license.
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In a recent op-ed article published in the Star Ledger, Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman debunked the myth that insurance companies have been using for decades to prevent good faith claims handling bills from passing through the legislature. As Feinman noted, insurance companies argue that the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) is unnecessary and would be harmful, suggesting the bill would dramatically raise insurance premiums.
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Last month, California passed legislation that requires residential property insurers to take specific measures to review the estimated cost of rebuilding or repairing structures insured under residential property insurance policies. Assembly Bill 1797 added section 10103.4 to California’s Insurance Code. With certain, limited exceptions, under the new statute, residential property insurers must, at least biennially, at the time of renewal of a policy, offer to provide the insured an updated estimate of the cost to rebuild or replace the insured structures, or offer updated coverage limits based on an inflation factor that reflects the cost of construction in the policyholder’s geographic area.
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Recently, the New Jersey Senate passed S-2144, entitled the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act. While the bill still must go through the Assembly and be signed by the Governor, this is much welcomed news by insureds and their representatives. Since 1993, insureds have had basically no right to bad faith claims against their insurers under the blanket of the Picket v. Lloyd “fairly debatable” standard.1
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As many Californians continue to repair, rebuild, and regain financial health after the disasters throughout the State, many are looking at insurance reform as a solution for the future. Insurers should provide the funds due to individuals and businesses after a disaster, but as surveys have shown, these funds don’t always flow as they should.1
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American politics and government can make people extraordinarily upset. The very nature of democracy, modern regulation, those being regulated and those regulating promotes active and emotional disagreements of what is the best public policy and how it should be determined. So, my first observation from yesterday’s post, Colorado House Bill 18-1153 Concerning Appraisals for Insurance Claims Killed in Finance Committee Hearing, is that Scott deLuise is very upset that the recent legislation he worked to draft with others and believed in, did not become law in Colorado—his lifelong and beloved state. I have been in similar losing situations and can empathize with him.
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Note: This guest blog is by Scott deLuise. Scott deLuise has been a public adjuster in Colorado since 1985, and licensed since Colorado implemented licensing. He is licensed in 28 states and Puerto Rico. He is a past president of NAPIA, and founding president of RMAPIA.

Monday before last was a sad day for the property insurance industry for carriers, but mostly for consumers.
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A handful of bills regarding proposed statutes concerning assignment of property insurance benefits were withdrawn from both houses of the Florida legislature this month. Each of the proposed laws were directed toward assignments entered into by property owners in exchange for the agreement of the assignee — typically a contractor — to complete the associated repairs for which the insurance benefits have not yet been paid, in whole or in part, by the carrier.
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