Sean Shaw sponsored and passed a law that protects victims of hurricanes from scammers and criminals. This new law became effective January 1 of this year. Some bad apples are breaking the law, and these scammers need to be stopped.

Sean and I have long talked about the myriad methods scammers and criminals use to get policyholders to assign contract benefits, make offers that are too good to be true, and overcharge for services. Policyholders should be very wary of anybody who makes promises that sound too good to be true.

Public adjusters have to be licensed. It is criminal for anybody to help or represent a policyholder with a claim who is not a licensed attorney or a public adjuster.

People that are not licensed often call themselves “consultants.” They are really crooks and conducting criminal activity in this state. Policyholders and insurance company adjusters should turn in to the authorities anybody that tries to skirt the law by calling themselves estimators, consultants, appraisers, or whatever. In Florida, those people are scammers and criminals.

Some contractors often work scammers. We are hearing of a few bad apple public adjusters who charge far more than the typical 10% charge that most reputable public adjusters will charge. Their claims solicitors tell policyholders not to worry because they will have contractors who will do the work for some guaranteed amount less than the public adjusters estimate. This is insurance fraud and a complete conflict of interest.

Most replacement cost policies do not require the insurance company to pay more than the amount actually paid to do the work. To get around this and help with the fraud discussed above, the public adjuster advises the policyholder to assign the insurance claim to the contractor who has the pre-agreed deal with the public adjuster to do the work for less than the estimate prepared by the public adjuster—but not to tell the insurance company of this silent deal.

If elected, Sean Shaw will prosecute people who rip off policyholders or rip off insurance companies. The current attorney general and state attorneys should do the same.

Many people in the insurance business do great quality work whether they are adjusters, contractors, public adjusters or attorneys. It is sad that in the greed to make more money or sign a deal, a few bad apples scheme to defraud or take advantage of the desperate situation so many are in. It is not right, it is criminal and those doing this have to be stopped.