Do you sometimes wish that you had somebody watching out for you? Somebody that always has your back? If we had this Guardian Angel, how much easier would it be to avoid the rocks of life we seem to navigate into or steer towards fair seas where fish are plentiful?

Brian Goodman has acted as the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) Good Shepherd since he took over as general counsel. Brian replaced the legendary Paul Cordish in 2000.  

Goodman wrote an excellent editorial published in the Palm Beach Post, Public Adjusters Aren’t The Problem in Florida’s Property Insurance Crisis. He stated:

There has been much discussion and legislative activity designed to ostensibly protect Florida insureds after major storm damage to their property. Much blame has been assigned by the insurance industry, as well as some legislators and insurance regulators, towards public adjusters. But, the facts are clear that this blame is misplaced.

Public adjusters are fully licensed in Florida as well as in 45 other states. They are the only licensed professionals coming under the regulatory control of each state’s insurance department who can legally assist an insured in preparing and presenting property damage claims to the insured’s homeowner or commercial insurance carrier.

Much commentary has been made on public adjusters preying on vulnerable insureds in times of crisis. Both the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters and the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters have a stringent code of ethics prohibiting this type of misconduct. When officials refer to public adjusters as ‘locusts’ after a catastrophe, or when the industry puts forth positions on the need to protect consumers from unscrupulous public adjusters, it is important to note that the facts and statistics undermine their argument.

For instance, official statistics from June 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021 confirm 24,000 complaints in Florida against company adjusters or independent adjusters working for insurance companies as compared to only 200 complaints against public adjusters in the same time frame. A more recent report from WFLA-TV in Tampa reports 4,700 claimants filed complaints against insurers post Hurricane Ian, and a major investigation published on March 11, 2023 in The Washington Post found that insurers knowingly slashed Hurricane Ian payments far below damage estimates, at times by more than 80%.

The statistics Goodman cited are supported by public documents. In Florida Public Records Disclosures Prove Insurance Companies Are Mistreating Policyholders—What About Making Laws Allowing Consumers To Do Something About It? I noted:

I have public records which show that from September 2017 through November 2022, consumers filed 99 complaints about public adjusters. Guess how many complaints were filed against insurance companies during that same period? 105,000 Florida consumer complaints were filed against insurance companies.

With proven public record statistics of 99 versus 105,000, I bet you would think the Florida Republican leadership would be writing a lot of laws cracking down on insurance company misconduct and allowing more lawsuits to be filed against those wrongful and cheating insurance companies, right? But just the opposite is happening.

Facts are facts—99 versus 105,000. The legislature is now using the minimal 99 complaints as a basis to wrongfully change public adjuster laws while closing its eyes to the 105,000 complaints against insurance company misconduct and making it more difficult for the policyholders to obtain redress for those complaints.

The insurance industry should take the proverbial stick out of its eye before blaming public insurance adjusters for anything. Politicians and regulators must first address insurance companies’ woeful claims processing, which is a plague upon Florida policyholders, rather than making up scapegoats. Brian Goodman’s editorial makes that point.

Thought For The Day

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.

—George Bernard Shaw