Florida Senate Bill 2264 has been set on the agenda of the Banking and Insurance Committee Agenda this Wednesday. This is the same legislation that was filed in the Florida House of Representatives as HB 1181.

I previously discussed this legislation in a post, Policyholders and Public Adjusting Under Attack in the Florida House of Representatives. I have met with and discussed the proposed House Legislation with Representative Janet Long which lead to a post last week, Representative Janet Long Gets a Hug From Chip Merlin.

Many Public Adjusters are quite understandably concerned about this legislation. I would urge those that would like to participate in this process to contact and do so through the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) and the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) to learn how your participation can be most positively effective.

Here is the Senate Bill as it currently reads:

Florida Senate2010                                    SB 2264

      By Senator Bennett
       21-01397-10                                           20102264__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public adjusters; amending s.
    3         626.854, F.S.; providing a definition; prohibiting
    4         public adjusters from making certain employment
    5         solicitations; prohibiting certain unsolicited written
    6         communications; providing exception requirements;
    7         revising prohibited solicitations; revising prohibited
    8         charges by public adjusters; providing a definition;
    9         amending s. 626.8796, F.S.; specifying required
   10         information in public adjuster contracts; creating s.
   11         626.70132, F.S.; barring certain personal lines
   12         residential coverage insurance claims subject to
   13         certain notice requirements; providing a definition;
   14         providing nonapplicability to certain civil actions
   15         limitations; providing an effective date.
   17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Subsections (5), (6), and (11) of sectionSection 1.
   20 626.854, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   21         “Public adjuster” defined; prohibitions.—The626.854
   22 Legislature finds that it is necessary for the protection of the
   23 public to regulate public insurance adjusters and to prevent the
   24 unauthorized practice of law.
   25         (5)As used in this subsection, the term “solicit” or(a)
   26 “solicitation” means contact in person or by telephone,
   27 facsimile, United States postal service, electronic mail, or any
   28 other method of communication directed to a specific recipient.
   29         Except as provided in paragraph (c), a public adjuster(b)
   30 may not solicit professional employment from a prospective
   31 customer with whom the public adjuster has no family or prior
   32 professional relationship, in person or otherwise, when a
   33 significant motive for the public adjuster’s doing so is the
   34 public adjuster’s pecuniary gain.
   35         An unsolicited written communication to an insured for(c)
   36 the purpose of obtaining professional employment is prohibited
   37 unless it complies with the following requirements:
   38         The first page and the lower left corner of the face of1.
   39 the envelope of such written communication shall be plainly
   40 marked “ADVERTISEMENT” in red ink in 14-point font.
   41         The communication must be sent only by regular United2.
   42 States mail and not by registered mail or any other form of
   43 restricted delivery.
   44         The communication may not be made to resemble legal3.
   45 pleadings or other legal documents.
   46         The communication may not contain any information as to4.
   47 the public adjuster’s or public adjusting firm’s record or
   48 history in obtaining claim payments or settlements for other
   49 insureds.
   50         The communication may not be mailed less than 30 days5.
   51 after the occurrence of an event that may be the subject of a
   52 claim under an insurance policy. A public adjuster may not
   53 directly or indirectly through any other person or entity
   54 solicit an insured or claimant by any means except on Monday
   55 through Saturday of each week and only between the hours of 8
   56 a.m. and 8 p.m. on those days.
   57         A public adjuster may not(6) directly or indirectly
   58 through any other person or entity initiate contact or engage in
   59 face-to-face or telephonic solicitation or enter into a contract
   60 with any insured or claimant under an insurance policy until at
   61 least 48 hours after the occurrence of an event that may be the
   62 subject of a claim under the insurance policy unless contact is
   63 initiated by the insured or claimant.
   64         If a public adjuster enters into a contract with an(11)(a)
   65 insured or claimant to reopen a claim or to file a supplemental
  66 claim that seeks additional payments for a claim that has been
   67 previously paid in part or in full or settled by the insurer,
   68 the public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept any
   69 compensation, payment, commission, fee, or other thing of value
   70 based on a previous settlement or previous claim payments by the
   71 insurer for the same cause of loss. The charge, compensation,
   72 payment, commission, fee, or other thing of value may be based
   73 only on the claim payments or settlement obtained through the
   74 work of the public adjuster after entering into the contract
   75 with the insured or claimant. The contracts described in this
   76 paragraph are not subject to the limitations in paragraph (b).
   77         A public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept(b)
   78 any compensation, payment, commission, fee, or other thing of
   79 value in excess of:
   80         Ten percent of1. any the amount in excess of the insurance
   81 company’s claim valuation to repair or replace damage to covered
   82 property payments by the insurer for claims based on events that
   83 are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the
   84 Governor. This provision applies to claims made during the
   85 period of 1 year after the declaration of emergency.
   86         Twenty percent of2. any the amount in excess of the all
   87 other insurance company’s claim valuation to repair or replace
   88 damage to covered property for all other insurance claim
   89 payments.
   90         For purposes of this subsection, the term “claim(c)
   91 valuation” means the total amount offered in writing or actually
   92 paid, or any combination of such amounts, by the insurance
   93 company to the policyholder for the claim for the damaged
   94 property, including loss of use, additional living, emergency,
   95 and any other expenses required to be paid under the terms of
   96 the policy.
   98 The provisions of subsections (5)-(13) apply only to residential
   99 property insurance policies and condominium association policies
 100 as defined in s. 718.111(11).
 101         Section 626.8796, Florida Statutes, is amendedSection 2.
 102 to read:
 103         Public adjuster contracts; fraud statement.—626.8796
 104         (1)All contracts for public adjuster services must be in
 105 writing and must prominently display the following statement on
 106 the contract: “Pursuant to s. 817.234, Florida Statutes, any
 107 person who, with the intent to injure, defraud, or deceive any
 108 insurer or insured, prepares, presents, or causes to be
 109 presented a proof of loss or estimate of cost or repair of
 110 damaged property in support of a claim under an insurance policy
 111 knowing that the proof of loss or estimate of claim or repairs
 112 contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information
 113 concerning any fact or thing material to the claim commits a
 114 felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
 115 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, Florida Statutes.”
 116         A public adjuster contract must contain the names and(2)
 117 addresses of the public adjuster, the public adjusting firm, and
 118 the insured, together with the signatures of the public adjuster
 119 and the insured and the signature date. A copy of the contract
 120 must be remitted to the insurer within 30 days after execution.
 121         Section 626.70132, Florida Statutes, is createdSection 3.
 122 to read:
 123         626.70132Duty to file windstorm or hurricane claim.—A
 124 claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim under an insurance
 125 policy that provides personal lines residential coverage, as
 126 defined in s. 627.4025, for loss or damage caused by the peril
 127 of windstorm or hurricane is barred unless notice of the claim
 128 was given to the insurer in accordance with the terms of the
 129 policy within 3 years after the windstorm or hurricane first
 130 made landfall, or the windstorm caused the covered damage, in
 131 this state. For purposes of this section, the term “supplemental
 132 or reopened claim” means a claim for recovery of additional
 133 payments from the insurer for losses from the same hurricane for
 134 which the insurer has previously paid pursuant to the initial
 135 claim. This section may not be interpreted to affect any
 136 applicable limitation on civil actions provided in s. 95.11.
 137         This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.Section 4.