Florida Statutes Regulating Public Adjusters
Important changes have been made to the Florida Statutes regulating the business of public adjusters in the past couple of years. Below are some that are the most important, including ones that became effective July 1, 2013.
Customer and Insurer Contact
- Public adjusters may not solicit an insured or claimant except on Monday through Saturday and only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Public adjusters must provide the claimant or insured a written estimate of the loss to assist them in the submission of a proof of loss or any other claim for payment of insurance proceeds. This estimate must also be available to the insurer or department should they request a copy. The written estimate must be maintained in the public adjuster’s records for at least 5 years.
- The law states that company adjusters, independent adjusters, attorneys, investigators, or others acting on behalf of the insurer must give the insured, claimant, public adjuster or legal representative of the insured at least 48 hours notice that they need access to the damaged property. The insured or claimant can waive this notice.
- Public adjusters must provide prompt notice to an insurer for which the public adjuster is handling the claim for a claimant or insured. In addition to the notice, a public adjuster must include a copy of the contract; ensure the property is available for inspection and that the insurer has an opportunity to interview the insured directly about the loss. A public adjuster’s actions must not obstruct or prevent an insurer or company adjuster or other person acting on behalf of the insurer from having reasonable access to the insured, claimant or the insured property. If a public adjuster is unavailable and it would delay the insurance company’s timely inspection of the damaged property, the public adjuster or the insured must allow the insurer access to the property without the public adjuster or insured’s participation.
- 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
- A public adjuster shall not acquire any interest in salvaged property,
except with the written consent and permission of the insured through a
- A public adjuster may not charge a fee unless a written contract was executed prior to the payment of a claim.
- Public adjusters are prohibited from receiving compensation from any source which would exceed the statutory fee cap.
- Public adjusters are prohibited from charging more than 20 percent of the insurance claim payment on claims not based on a declared emergency and 10 percent of the insurance claim payment on claims based upon a declared emergency for claims made during the first year after the declaration of the emergency. These fee caps apply only to residential property insurance policies and condominium unit owner policies as defined in s. 718.111(11), F.S. [See s. 626.854(18), F.S.]
- The fee cap on re-opened or supplemental claims is 20% of the claim; however, the fee cannot be based on any payments made by the insurer to the insured prior to the time of the public adjuster contract.
- An insured or claimant can cancel a contract with a public adjuster without penalty or obligation within 3 business days after the date it was executed or within 3 business days after the date the insured or claimant notified the insurer of the claim, whichever is later.
- The adjuster’s contract must disclose to the insured or claimant his or her right to cancel the contract and advise the notice of cancellation must be submitted in writing and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or other form of mailing which provides proof, to the public adjuster’s address specified in the contract.
- However, during any state of emergency as declared by the Governor and for a period of 1 year after the date of loss, the insured or claimant will have 5 business days after the execution date to cancel a contract with a public adjuster.
- Public adjuster contracts must be in writing and must display an anti-fraud statement.
- A public adjuster contract related to a property and casualty insurance claim must contain the full name of the public adjuster and public adjusting firm, the business address, license number, and other specified information.
- There are several important statutory requirements pertaining to contracts made by public adjusters:
- Must state the type of claim, including an emergency claim, non-emergency claim or supplemental claim.
- Requires the signatures of all named insureds.
- If the signatures of all named insureds are not available, the public adjuster must submit an affidavit signed by the available named insureds attesting that they have authority to enter into the contract and settle all claim issues on behalf of the named insureds.
- An unaltered copy of the contract must be remitted to the insurer within 30 days after execution. This means the contract provided to the insurer must also contain the agreed upon fee percentage.
- Subsection 627.706(5), F.S., was created to limit the time period a policyholder can present an initial, supplemental or reopened claim under an insurance policy that provides sinkhole coverage. Under this subsection, these claims are barred unless notice was given to the insurer in accordance with the terms of the policy within 2 years after the policyholder knew or reasonably should have known about the sinkhole loss.
- Public adjusters are prohibited from making deceptive or misleading statements in advertisements or solicitations.
- The following statements, made in any public adjuster’s advertisement or solicitation, are considered deceptive or misleading:
“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.”
- A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim when the policyholder does not have covered damage to insured property.
- A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim by offering monetary or other valuable inducement.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
REVISED JULY 1, 2013