The California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Act imposes multiple deadlines to respond and report to insureds during a claim adjustment. Knowing and understanding an insurer’s reporting duties and deadlines can speed up the adjustment and payment of a claim. Although a failure to meet a deadline by a day or two may not, in and of itself, constitute bad faith, failing to respond to an insured or repeated failure to meet deadlines is evidence of an insurer’s poor conduct and may be evidence of bad faith.
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Michigan Director of Insurance Anita Fox

The Michigan Director of Insurance recently issued the following bulletin:

MICHIGAN INSURANCE BULLETINS AND RELATED MATERIALS
BULLETINS
Bulletin 2019-07-INS
April 17, 2019

FROM: Anita G. Fox
Director Of Insurance
DATE: April 17, 2019

RE: RESIDENTIAL PUBLIC ADJUSTER CONTRACT

This bulletin supersedes Bulletin 2018-22-INS, dated November 20, 2018.

The Director has approved a new residential public adjuster contract. The effective date of the new contract is May 15, 2019. All licensed public adjusters must begin using the new contract on that date; and must file the new contract with DIFS no later than June 30, 2019.


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An excellent and successful insurance company defense attorney, Bill Berk and I were on a panel presentation at the 2019 Windstorm Insurance Conference earlier this year. Berk reminded the audience of adjusters that under Florida law, they should not be saying or implying bad things about each other. He noted this Florida regulation:

A public adjuster shall not represent or imply to any client or potential client that insurers, company adjusters, or independent adjusters routinely attempt to, or do in fact, deprive claimants of their full rights under an insurance policy. No insurer, independent adjuster, or company adjuster shall represent or imply to any claimant that public adjusters are unscrupulous, or that engaging a public adjuster will delay or have other adverse effect upon the settlement of a claim.
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One of the strongest tools in an insured’s arsenal is a good public adjuster. If lucky, most insureds will only suffer a property loss once or twice in a lifetime. Not dealing with claims handling on a day to day basis, navigating the claims process can be not only confusing and tedious, but costly as well if the insured does not know when they are being treated unfairly.
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The interests and needs of policyholders is why public adjusters get to make a living adjusting claims. The financial interests of the public adjuster are not paramount to the policyholder. The public interest is paramount over the public adjuster trade. So long as public adjusters properly serve policyholders, serve the public interest, and strive to raise the bar of those participating in their trade, they will be allowed to practice what used to be illegal in Florida, is limited in some states, and still illegal in a few states.
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Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier

Florida Attorney General Candidate Sean Shaw and I collaborated and drafted language that made people making the values, numbers, scopes of loss or directly or indirectly, helping determine an insurance claim amount, have an attorney license or a public adjuster license. We wanted to better protect consumers and help stop allegations of or actual insurance fraud from occurring.
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Rep. Sean Shaw
Rep. Sean Shaw

House Bill 911, effective January 1, 2018, was filed by Representative Sean Shaw and enacted by the Florida Legislature to amend Fla. Stat. § 626.854, which protects policyholders through the regulation of public adjusters. Chip Merlin discussed this new law in detail in his post on July 2, 2017. In requiring public adjusters to be licensed by the State of Florida and defining the scope of their services, the Florida Legislature also excluded the growing practice of unlicensed public adjusting and the unauthorized practice of law. By defining what a licensed public adjuster can do for policyholders, the amended law notifies contractors, vendors, accountants, and others known after a catastrophe to unlawfully solicit business to act in the scope of a public adjuster. One service to policyholders that was recently questioned was whether an appraiser is required to be licensed in Florida. In the answer to this question, many others will find the answer to other services related to public adjusters, which do require a license.
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