In the wake of Hurricane Hermine, policyholders may find themselves in need of their own insurance adjuster. As we have expressed in the past, make sure you hire a qualified and licensed public insurance adjuster. The adjuster sent to you from the insurance company is not working for you, that person works for the insurance company.

Many Florida public insurance adjusters have voluntarily joined the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. One of the highly regarded things about FAPIA is that all the members have agreed to hold themselves to ethical standards even higher than those imposed by the state of Florida.

FAPIA’s Ethical Guidelines are available here, and members can report any unethical behavior of fellow public insurance adjusters with the complaint form available here.

All Florida public insurance adjusters must follow the contract rules of 69B-220.051, Conduct of Public Adjusters and Public Adjuster Apprentices:

(5) Required Contract Terms. Public adjusters shall ensure that all contracts for their adjusting services contain the terms required by Sections 626.854 and 626.8796, F.S., and the following information:
(a) The insured’s phone number, if available.
(b) The address of loss if different from the insured’s current street address.
(c) A brief description of the loss.
(d) The insured’s insurance company name and policy number, if available.
(e) All methods of compensation and all fees or other amounts required to be paid by the insured to the public adjuster shall be stated in the contract.
(f) Any costs to be reimbursed to the public adjuster out of the proceeds shall be specified in either the contract or an addendum to the contract, which shall be signed and dated by the parties.
(6) The contract must be signed by the public adjuster who solicited the contract. A copy of the contract and any addendum thereto, signed by all parties, shall be provided to the insured or claimant at the time he or she signs the contract.
(7) A public adjuster shall not accept a settlement of a claim unless the terms and conditions of the settlement are approved by the insured or claimant.

An additional contract requirement is found in the Florida Statutes:

626.8796 Public adjuster contracts; fraud statement
(1) All contracts for public adjuster services must be in writing and prominently display the following statement on the contract: “Pursuant to s.817.234, Florida Statutes, any person who, with the intent to injure, defraud, or deceive an insurer or insured, prepares, presents, or causes to be presented a proof of loss or estimate of cost or repair of damaged property in support of a claim under an insurance policy knowing that the proof of loss or estimate of claim or repairs contains false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to the claim commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082, s.775.083, or s.775.084, Florida Statutes.

For state of emergency claims such as those due to Hurricane Hermine, public adjuster fees are capped at 10% of new money funds for residential and condo association cases.

Additional state requirements are available here.

In recent news, the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters will soon celebrate with the Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (JAFCO) for the fourth time on September 15, 2016, at 4200 N. University Drive, Sunrise, Florida 33351. Lead by FAPIA President Michael Rump and Community Action Affairs Committee Chair, Karen Schiffmiller, the organization has raised over $4,000 to donate to the children. These funds will be critical to help fund the emergency shelter that JAFCO has in place. In addition, JAFCO provides services to abused and neglected children in South Florida. There are many programs and services being offered for at-risk children and children with developmental disabilities at both their Children’s Village and Ability Center.

If you are a public insurance adjuster and you have questions about joining FAPIA, contact FAPIA Managing Director Nancy Dominguez at (866)-235-6489. The next FAPIA conference will be coming soon, and we will post details here on the blog. Until then, join FAPIA on September 15, 2016, at JAFCO. To learn more about FAPIA and JAFCO, click here, and to register for the event, click here.