My series on specific issues in public adjusting runs each Saturday, but Merlin Law Group attorneys post every day on topics relating to our work helping policyholders and property insurance trends and cases. These blog posts are intended as a resource for public insurance adjusters– who are on the front lines helping insureds.

This Saturday, I want to look back at some of the key posts for public adjusters from the past year; all of these articles have lessons we should carry with us into the New Year.

Public Adjusters Win Free Speech Rights and Ability to Promptly Help Policyholders

The 48 hour restriction on public adjuster solicitation was overturned. This was an extremely important decision for Floridians. As Chip Merlin explained, “[p]ublic adjusters that are retained promptly after a loss can often be far more helpful than being retained long thereafter. Policyholders usually need professional and practical assistance as soon as a loss occurs. If public adjusters are going to be retained soon after a loss, they need to be able to freely explain how their services can aid policyholders.”

Public Adjusters Can Appear at Examination Under Oath

Check out this post to see the details of the case that explains the insurance contract did not prohibit a public adjuster from being present at an examination under oath. Public Adjusters should be able to attend EUOs, but policyholders should also be represented by an attorney. Attorneys can give legal advice to policyholders before, during, and after examinations. Public Adjusters can’t give legal advice but can assist by listening to the questions and concerns of the insurance company and can help with issues regarding the scope and documentation of damages claimed.

The next three posts show a snapshot of Florida’s insurance companies and the battles public adjusters face everyday. There were so many insightful posts about Citizens it was hard to pick just one.

Robin Westcott, Consumer Advocate, Investigates Universal Property and Casualty’s Rescinding of Policies and Denial of Claims

Bad Actors?

Insurance Company Complaint Rankings for 2010 Have Been Released

Policyholders and public adjusters handling Hurricane Sandy Claims should be sure to read Chip Merlin’s new series on New Jersey insurance and also check out:

Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claim Denials in New Jersey

The Mythical National Flood Claim Memo and Sandy Flood Claims

New York Governor Signs Order to Expedite Aid from Public Adjusters

Homeowner, Jenifer Ackerman and her family suffered a fire loss in New Hampshire last year. The devastation of the fire and the bad acts of her insurance company inspired her to write a series of articles about her experiences. She describes her public adjuster as her anonymous hero and the insurance company as the villain. Read Jennifer’s story here:

Check out: After the Fire

2012 marked the release of the first publication of its kind regarding public adjuster safety in investigations. This manual offers excellent information about safety specific challenges the profession faces on a regular basis. The book was published just in time. After the wrath of Sandy, adjusters were faced with brutal weather and encountered extremely dangerous conditions which exceeded a routine damage claim. Purchase information can be found here:

New Safety Publication for Public Adjusters

While not one of the positive rulings that policyholders deserved, 2012 marks the long awaited ruling in the Chalfonte case. See Policyholders Lose Rights in Florida Courts. The Florida Supreme Court held insurance companies can break legal obligations and regulations without accountability. Answering the question about whether the contracts for insurance include a requirement of good faith and fair dealing. The Supreme Court said No.

My 2012 recap would not be complete without:

Celebrating the Life of Harvey Wolfman

At the last FAPIA conference in November, Harvey was missing from the presidential podium, but members honored his memory and shared stories of the good ole days. Harvey would have loved it.

Finally, in April 2012, we learned that long time public adjuster Paul Norcia was qualified to testify in federal court regarding QBE’s attempts to keep him out. Norcia was qualified to discuss structural components of a building damaged by hurricane, the cost to repair the property, and whether certain building components needed to be replaced or repaired.

Public Adjuster Qualified to Testify in Florida Federal District Court- No Daubert Hearing

A special thanks to our readers for taking the time to read our posts and send in comments and emails. This blog has helped me connect with policyholders and public adjusters nationwide. My wish for all of you is a happy, healthy and wonderful New Year.

Coming soon…look for my new series on North Carolina property insurance issues. In addition to my series on Public Adjuster issues, which will continue run on Saturdays, posts on Carolina Coverage will be headed your way in 2013.