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AA FLORIDA PUBLIC ADJUSTING AGENCY

626.865 Public adjuster’s qualifications, bond

Below you will find various qualifications that a person must meet before they can be licensed as a Florida Public Adjuster. Aperson must be 18 years old and a citizens of the United States or  legal alien. They must be trust worthy and experienced. In addtional to these, the public adjuster must be bonded and pass a written test. In most instances they must serve first as an apprentice. Read carefully below and see if you would qualify.

  (1)The department shall issue a license to an applicant for a public adjuster’s license upon determining that the applicant has paid the applicable fees specified in s.624.501and possesses the following qualifications:

 (a)Is a natural person at least 18 years of age.

  (b)Is a United States citizen or legal alien who possesses work authorization from the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and a bona fide resident of this state.

  (c)Is trustworthy and has such business reputation as would reasonably assure that the applicant will conduct his or her business as insurance adjuster fairly and in good faith and without detriment to the public.

  (d)Has had sufficient experience, training, or instruction concerning the adjusting of damages or losses under insurance contracts, other than life and annuity contracts, is sufficiently informed as to the terms and effects of the provisions of those types of insurance contracts, and possesses adequate knowledge of the laws of this state relating to such contracts as to enable and qualify him or her to engage in the business of insurance adjuster fairly and without injury to the public or any member thereof with whom the applicant may have business as a public adjuster.

  (2)At the time of application for license as a public adjuster, the applicant shall file with the department a bond executed and issued by a surety insurer authorized to transact such business in this state, in the amount of $50,000, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties as a public adjuster under the license for which the applicant has applied, and thereafter maintain the bond unimpaired throughout the existence of the license and for at least 1 year after termination of the license. The bond shall be in favor of the department and shall specifically authorize recovery by the department of the damages sustained in case the licensee is guilty of fraud or unfair practices in connection with his or her business as public adjuster. The aggregate liability of the surety for all such damages shall in no event exceed the amount of the bond. Such bond shall not be terminated unless at least 30 days’ written notice is given to the licensee and filed with the department.

    (3)The department may not issue a license as a public adjuster to any individual who hasnot passed the examination for a public adjuster’s license. Any individual who is applying for reinstatement of a license after completion of a period of suspension and any individual who is applying for a new license after termination, cancellation, revocation, or expiration of a prior license as a public adjuster must pass the examination required for licensure as a public adjuster after approval of the application for reinstatement or for a new license regardless of whether the applicant passed an examination prior to issuance of the license that was suspended, terminated, canceled, revoked, or expired.

626.854 Public Adjuster Prohibitions and Requirements

Prohibitions and Requirements the Florida Public Adjuster is required to follow:

 626.854

 (3)  A public adjuster may not give legal advice or act on behalf of or aid any person in negotiating or settling a claim relating to bodily injury, death, or noneconomic damages.

 (4)  For purposes of this section, the term “insured” includes only the policyholder and any beneficiaries named or similarly identified in the policy.

 (5)  A public adjuster may not directly or indirectly through any other person or entity solicit an insured or claimant by any means except on Monday through Saturday of each week and only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on those days.

 (6)  A public adjuster may not directly or indirectly through any other person or entity initiate contact or engage in face-to-face or telephonic solicitation or enter into a contract with any insured or claimant under an insurance policy until at least 48 hours after the occurrence of an event that may be the subject of a claim under the insurance policy unless contact is initiated by the insured or claimant.

 (7)  An insured or claimant may cancel a public adjuster’s contract to adjust a claim without penalty or obligation within 3 business days after the date on which the contract is executed or within 3 business days after the date on which the insured or claimant has notified the insurer of the claim, by phone or in writing, whichever is later. The public adjuster’s contract must disclose to the insured or claimant his or her right to cancel the contract and advise the insured or claimant that notice of cancellation must be submitted in writing and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or other form of mailing that provides proof thereof, to the public adjuster at the address specified in the contract; provided, during any state of emergency as declared by the Governor and for 1 year after the date of loss, the insured or claimant has 5 business days after the date on which the contract is executed to cancel a public adjuster’s contract.

 (8) It is an unfair and deceptive insurance trade practice pursuant to s. 626.9541 for a public adjuster or any other person to circulate or disseminate any advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the business of insurance which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading.

 (a)  The following statements, made in any public adjuster’s advertisement or solicitation, are considered deceptive or misleading:

 1.  A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim when the policyholder does not have covered damage to insured property.

 2.  A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim by offering monetary or other valuable inducement.

 3.  A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim by stating that there is “no risk” to the policyholder by submitting such claim.

 4.  A statement or representation, or use of a logo or shield, that implies or could mistakenly be construed to imply that the solicitation was issued or distributed by a governmental agency or is sanctioned or endorsed by a governmental agency.

 (b)  For purposes of this paragraph, the term “written advertisement” includes only newspapers, magazines, flyers, and bulk mailers. The following disclaimer, which is not required to be printed on standard size business cards, must be added in bold print and capital letters in typeface no smaller than the typeface of the body of the text to all written advertisements by a public adjuster:

 “THIS IS A SOLICITATION FOR BUSINESS. IF YOU HAVE HAD A CLAIM FOR AN INSURED PROPERTY LOSS OR DAMAGE AND YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE PAYMENT BY YOUR INSURER, YOU MAY DISREGARD THIS ADVERTISEMENT.”

 (9)  A public adjuster, a public adjuster apprentice, or any person or entity acting on behalf of a public adjuster or public adjuster apprentice may not give or offer to give a monetary loan or advance to a client or prospective client.

 (10)  A public adjuster, public adjuster apprentice, or any individual or entity acting on behalf of a public adjuster or public adjuster apprentice may not give or offer to give, directly or indirectly, any article of merchandise having a value in excess of $25 to any individual for the purpose of advertising or as an inducement to entering into a contract with a public adjuster.

 (11)(a)  If a public adjuster enters into a contract with an insured or claimant to reopen a claim or file a supplemental claim that seeks additional payments for a claim that has been previously paid in part or in full or settled by the insurer, the public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept from any source compensation, payment, commission, fee, or any other thing of value based on a previous settlement or previous claim payments by the insurer for the same cause of loss. The charge, compensation, payment, commission, fee, or any other thing of value must be based only on the claim payments or settlement obtained through the work of the public adjuster after entering into the contract with the insured or claimant. Compensation for the reopened or supplemental claim may not exceed 20 percent of the reopened or supplemental claim payment. In no event shall the contracts described in this paragraph exceed the limitations in paragraph (b).

 (b)  A public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept from any source compensation, payment, commission, fee, or any other thing of value in excess of:

 1.  Ten percent of the amount of insurance claim payments made by the insurer for claims based on events that are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor. This provision applies to claims made during the year after the declaration of emergency. After that year, the limitations in subparagraph 2. apply.

 2.  Twenty percent of the amount of insurance claim payments made by the insurer for claims that are not based on events that are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor.

 (c)  Any maneuver, shift, or device through which the limits on compensation set forth in this subsection are exceeded is a violation of this chapter punishable as provided under s. 626.8698.

 (12)  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. 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.

 (13)  A public adjuster, public adjuster apprentice, or any person acting on behalf of a public adjuster or apprentice may not accept referrals of business from any person with whom the public adjuster conducts business if there is any form or manner of agreement to compensate the person, directly or indirectly, for referring business to the public adjuster. A public adjuster may not compensate any person, except for another public adjuster, directly or indirectly, for the principal purpose of referring business to the public adjuster.

 (14)  A company employee adjuster, independent adjuster, attorney, investigator, or other persons acting on behalf of an insurer that needs access to an insured or claimant or to the insured property that is the subject of a claim must provide at least 48 hours’ notice to the insured or claimant, public adjuster, or legal representative before scheduling a meeting with the claimant or an onsite inspection of the insured property. The insured or claimant may deny access to the property if the notice has not been provided. The insured or claimant may waive the 48-hour notice.

 (15)  The public adjuster must ensure that prompt notice is given of the claim to the insurer, the public adjuster’s contract is provided to the insurer, the property is available for inspection of the loss or damage by the insurer, and the insurer is given an opportunity to interview the insured directly about the loss and claim. The insurer must be allowed to obtain necessary information to investigate and respond to the claim.

 (a)  The insurer may not exclude the public adjuster from its in-person meetings with the insured. The insurer shall meet or communicate with the public adjuster in an effort to reach agreement as to the scope of the covered loss under the insurance policy. The public adjuster shall meet or communicate with the insurer in an effort to reach agreement as to the scope of the covered loss under the insurance policy. This section does not impair the terms and conditions of the insurance policy in effect at the time the claim is filed.

 (b)  A public adjuster may not restrict or prevent an insurer, company employee adjuster, independent adjuster, attorney, investigator, or other person acting on behalf of the insurer from having reasonable access at reasonable times to any insured or claimant or to the insured property that is the subject of a claim.

 (c)  A public adjuster may not act or fail to reasonably act in any manner that obstructs or prevents an insurer or insurer’s adjuster from timely conducting an inspection of any part of the insured property for which there is a claim for loss or damage. The public adjuster representing the insureds may be present for the insurer’s inspection, but if the unavailability of the public adjuster otherwise delays the insurer’s timely inspection of the property, the public adjuster or the insureds must allow the insurer to have access to the property without the participation or presence of the public adjuster or insureds in order to facilitate the insurer’s prompt inspection of the loss or damage.

 (16)  A licensed contractor under part I of chapter 489, or a subcontractor, may not adjust a claim on behalf of an insured unless licensed and compliant as a public adjuster under this chapter. However, the contractor may discuss or explain a bid for construction or repair of covered property with the residential property owner who has suffered loss or damage covered by a property insurance policy, or the insurer of such property, if the contractor is doing so for the usual and customary fees applicable to the work to be performed as stated in the contract between the contractor and the insured.

 (17)  A public adjuster shall not acquire any interest in salvaged property, except with the written consent and permission of the insured through a signed affidavit.

 (18)  A public adjuster, a public adjuster apprentice, or a person acting on behalf of an adjuster or apprentice may not enter into a contract or accept a power of attorney that vests in the public adjuster, the public adjuster apprentice, or the person acting on behalf of the adjuster or apprentice the effective authority to choose the persons or entities that will perform repair work in a property insurance claim.

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

 

History.—s. 317, ch. 59-205; s. 3, ch. 81-282; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 293, 807, 810, ch. 82-243; s. 25, ch. 88-166; ss. 206, 207, ch. 90-363; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 95-238; s. 10, ch. 2008-220; s. 3, ch. 2009-87; ss. 7, 8, ch. 2011-39; s. 3, ch. 2013-60; s. 2, ch. 2014-104.

 

  

Florida Independent and Company Adjuster Definitions

626.855  "Independent adjuster" defined.—An "independent adjuster" means a person licensed as an all-lines adjuster who is self-appointed or appointed and employed by an independent adjusting firm or other independent adjuster, and who undertakes on behalf of an insurer to ascertain and determine the amount of any claim, loss, or damage payable under an insurance contract or undertakes to effect settlement of such claim, loss, or damage.

626.856  "Company employee adjuster" defined.—A "company employee adjuster" means a person licensed as an all-lines adjuster who is appointed and employed on an insurer's staff of adjusters or a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurer, and who undertakes on behalf of such insurer or other insurers under common control or ownership to ascertain and determine the amount of any claim, loss, or damage payable under a contract of insurance, or undertakes to effect settlement of such claim, loss, or damage.

Replacement Cost Coverage - Florida

The replacement cost language contained in this Florida statute trumps  your policy language. Remember, statutes can only add more coverage to your policy, they can never take coverage away.

627.7011

3) In the event of a loss for which a dwelling or personal property is insured on the basis of replacement;

  (a)  For a dwelling, the insurer must initially pay at least the actual cash value of the insured loss, less any applicable deductible. The insurer shall pay any remaining amounts necessary to perform such repairs as work is performed and expenses are incurred. If a total loss of a dwelling occurs, the insurer shall pay the replacement cost coverage with reservation or holdback of any depreciation in value, pursuant to s.627.702.

Consideration

  • This statute does not apply to Other Structures.  While you may have coverage for replacement of other structures that are buildings, this particular statute will not change coverage or payout of coverage for other structures.
  • This statute only applies to Homeowers’ policies as the term in commonly understood within the insurance industry.
  •  This statute requires the insurer to pay initially no less than the actual cash value of the insured loss less an applicable deductible.
  • As the work is performed and expenses are incurred, the insurer shall pay remaining amounts necessary to perform the repairs. I predict this wordage will generate numerous law suits in the State of Florida. The language used here suggest that the insurer owes the remaining withheld depreciation as the repairs are made and the cost is incurred. Some insurers  claim they do not owe any of the additional withheld depreciation, until all the repairs are finished. This statute controdicts the insurance company's position.
  • The insurer is only required to pay the reasonable and necessary cost to repair or replace the damaged, destroyed, or stolen covered property
  • The insurer does not have to pay any amount which would exceed a Coverage policy limit.

Please call with any questions you may have. This statute is frequently being challenged in court. My opinion in this matter is based upon facts and opinions provided by legal counsel. Should you feel your case has merit, please do not hesitate to call concerning this subject.

627.7073 Sinkhole reports

(1) Upon completion of testing as provided in s.627.7072, the professional engineer or professional geologist shall issue a report and certification to the insurer and the policyholder as provided in this section.

(a) Sinkhole loss is verified if, based upon tests performed in accordance with s.627.7072, a professional engineer or a professional geologist issues a written report and certification stating:

1. That structural damage to the covered building has been identified within a reasonable professional probability.

2. That the cause of the structural damage is sinkhole activity within a reasonable professional probability.

3.  That the analyses conducted were of sufficient scope to identify sinkhole activity as the cause of damage within a reasonable professional probability.

4. A description of the tests performed.

5.  A recommendation by the professional engineer of methods for stabilizing the land and building and for making repairs to the foundation.

(b)  If there is no structural damage or if sinkhole activity is eliminated as the cause of such damage to the covered building, the professional engineer or professional geologist shall issue a written report and certification to the policyholder and the insurer stating:

1.  That there is no structural damage or the cause of such damage is not sinkhole activity within a reasonable professional probability.

2.  That the analyses and tests conducted were of sufficient scope to eliminate sinkhole activity as the cause of the structural damage within a reasonable professional probability.

3. A statement of the cause of the structural damage within a reasonable professional probability.

4. A description of the tests performed.

(c)  The respective findings, opinions, and recommendations of the insurer’s professional engineer or professional geologist as to the cause of distress to the property and the findings, opinions, and recommendations of the insurer’s professional engineer as to land and building stabilization and foundation repair set forth by s.627.7072shall be presumed correct.

(2)  An insurer that has paid a claim for a sinkhole loss shall file a copy of the report and certification, prepared pursuant to subsection (1), including the legal description of the real property and the name of the property owner, the neutral evaluator’s report, if any, which indicates that sinkhole activity caused the damage claimed, a copy of the certification indicating that stabilization has been completed, if applicable, and the amount of the payment, with the county clerk of court, who shall record the report and certification. The insurer shall bear the cost of filing and recording one or more reports and certifications. There shall be no cause of action or liability against an insurer for compliance with this section.

(a) The recording of the report and certification does not:

1.  Constitute a lien, encumbrance, or restriction on the title to the real property or constitute a defect in the title to the real property;

2.  Create any cause of action or liability against any grantor of the real property for breach of any warranty of good title or warranty against encumbrances; or

3. Create any cause of action or liability against any title insurer that insures the title to the real property.

(b)  As a precondition to accepting payment for a sinkhole loss, the policyholder must file a copy of any sinkhole report regarding the insured property which was prepared on behalf or at the request of the policyholder. The policyholder shall bear the cost of filing and recording the sinkhole report. The recording of the report does not:

1.  Constitute a lien, encumbrance, or restriction on the title to the real property or constitute a defect in the title to the real property;

2.  Create any cause of action or liability against any grantor of the real property for breach of any warranty of good title or warranty against encumbrances; or

3. Create any cause of action or liability against a title insurer that insures the title to the real property.

(c)  The seller of real property upon which a sinkhole claim has been made by the seller and paid by the insurer must disclose to the buyer of such property, before the closing, that a claim has been paid and whether or not the full amount of the proceeds was used to repair the sinkhole damage.

(3)  Upon completion of any building stabilization or foundation repairs for a verified sinkhole loss, the professional engineer responsible for monitoring the repairs shall issue a report to the property owner which specifies what repairs have been performed and certifies within a reasonable degree of professional probability that such repairs have been properly performed. The professional engineer issuing the report shall file a copy of the report and certification, which includes a legal description of the real property and the name of the property owner, with the county clerk of the court, who shall record the report and certification. This subsection does not create liability for an insurer based on any representation or certification by a professional engineer related to the stabilization or foundation repairs for the verified sinkhole loss.

History.—s. 21, ch. 2005-111; s. 28, ch. 2006-12; s. 26, ch. 2011-39.

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