Note: This guest post is by Brian S. Goodman. Brian is a partner at the Baltimore Law Firm of Goodman & Donohue, LLC. He is also the General Counsel of NAPIA.
Like many of you, I read Chip Merlin’s blog posts every day in my role as General Counsel for the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (www.napia.com). So it was with great interest that I recently reviewed his post on the proposed new licensing bill in Kentucky. Chip has asked for my thoughts on this, which I am happy to provide.
Kentucky was one of two states that led the charge against NAPIA for the Public Adjuster Model Act of 2005. That model legislation has become a dominantly influential model statute throughout the country, and NAPIA (myself, Dick Burr, and others) worked very closely together. with the NAIC in the development and adoption of this bill. Of the 46 states that license public adjusters, over 20 of those states have adopted an iteration of the model law, including Kentucky.
The biggest change and concern, frankly, is the new proposed fee caps set forth in the Kentucky Bill. NAPIA never advocates fee caps, but if it is clear that a state wants and feels it needs a fee cap, we always work with the state legislature to ensure that the fee cap is fair and reasonable and allows public adjusters to practice their professions ethically and responsibly . Of the 46 licensing states, about 13 (as I recall) have a fee cap (for example, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi and others). The model law is silent on a cap, leaving it out of the model and leaving it specifically to each individual state. While NAPIA never advocates a cap, if it is unavoidable, we believe it is better to be licensed with one as long as it is reasonable. Some organizations disagree with this approach, but it has worked successfully for our members over the years.
Even at this moment, NAPIA is working hard on this bill to protect our members and the profession, and this is an added benefit to joining the association. We have a national lobbyist and lobbyists in states where there is legislative activity. There are other issues in this proposed charter to go down and analyze, and we suggest that those reading this blog who are not members of NAPIA consider joining. I am not writing this to recruit members but to advise that NAPIA works hard every day to protect the industry and ensure that licensing bills are fair, reasonable and protective for the profession and for all insureds who suffer property loss.