A Florida public adjuster called and asked if a Hurricane Ian national flood insurance proof of loss had to be filed within 60 days. That answer is “no,” as explained in Hurricane Ian Flood Proof of Loss Deadline Extended. FEMA extended the deadline for 365 days.

Public adjusters have another 60-day deadline which can result in professional discipline if not followed. Florida Statute §626.854 must be followed and states in part:

(11) Each public adjuster must provide to the claimant or insured a written estimate of the loss to assist in the submission of a proof of loss or any other claim for payment of insurance proceeds within 60 days after the date of the contract. The written estimate must include an itemized, per-unit estimate of the repairs, including itemized information on equipment, materials, labor, and supplies, in accordance with accepted industry standards. The public adjuster shall retain such written estimate for at least 5 years and shall make the estimate available to the claimant or insured, the insurer, and the department upon request.

(18) Subsections (5)-(17) apply only to residential property insurance policies and condominium unit owner policies as described in s. 718.111(11).

I reminded the public adjuster of this statute because while the flood estimate and proof of loss are not due, he has this statutory deadline applying to any residential Hurricane Ian claim. The requirement is that the public adjuster provide the estimate to the policyholder within 60 days after retention. I suggest that all public adjusters keep proof that this occurred.

Please note that any insurance company and the Department of Financial Services can ask for that same estimate. I can envision that insurers will ask for these estimates within the sixty days and even tell the policyholder of the requirement. I can also assume that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) may ask to see the contracts and compliance by public adjusters of this requirement.

Public adjusters should not sign up more residential clients than they can handle. These are important obligations with no exceptions. I suggest that all public adjusters assume that insurance companies and the DFS will request proof of compliance and face administrative penalties if they are not met.

This law was enacted because of a few public adjusting firms signing hundreds of residential policyholders following Hurricane Michael and then not promptly adjusting the claims. It is an important protection for policyholders who decide to hire public adjusters to adjust their claims. So, I am just reminding the Florida public adjusting community to do your job right and follow the law.

Thought For The Day

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
—Colin Powell