Note: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and general counsel for the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.
Unfortunately, as I write this, the Tampa Bay area appears to be directly in the path of Hurricane Ian. I have received a few texts today from friends and colleagues who have been asked to evacuate. I’ll start by saying my thoughts go out to everyone affected by the storm.
If you are an out-of-state public adjuster and want to go to Florida, please know that, unlike Puerto Rico, Florida does not offer emergency licenses to public adjusters, only business adjusters. You must pass the Florida licensing exam to adjust claims, whether or not you are affiliated with a Florida corporation. You must also have a license to claim in Florida. And Florida has also recently required a license for your business, even if you are designated unless your business is owned and operated by you as a single licensed adjuster and you do not employ any other public adjusters. If you don̵7;t have your business license yet, make sure your contract and all work done is in your individual name until you are licensed. A violation of the Licensing Act is a felony of the third degree with a fine of up to $10,000.00
Just so you know:
- Florida has many contract rules, which changed slightly in 2022, as they do every year, and now Florida requires an Ale supplement for residential claims.
- The statute of limitations has changed for a new or “resumed claim” – the limit is now two years.
- You cannot offer to pay for a roof repair or any other type of incentive to enter into the contract.
- Remember that there are many advertising rules and fee caps for residential claims, including a 10% fee cap for catastrophic losses.
- Fines for certain violations are doubled to $20,000 under state of emergency.
Another way to ensure you have the latest information is to join FAPIAregardless of whether you are a resident or non-resident public adjuster.
And if you are not an authorized public adjuster and attempt to adjust a claim, you will be penalized and have potential criminal liability.
Roofers, for example, have rules about advertisements, cannot offer a discount or an incentive to inspect the roof or handle the repairs, and must provide an estimate for considered work. There are also mandatory conditions in ceiling contracts and transfer of benefit agreements.
Learn the rules before you act:
Knowledge is a wise man’s treasure.