A Brief Overview of Florida's Rules and Regulations for Public Adjusters

A Brief Overview of Florida's Rules and Regulations for Public Adjusters

In the realm of insurance claims, the role of public adjusters is undeniably crucial.

December 4, 2023

**updated for 2023**

Public adjusters play a vital role in guiding policyholders through the intricacies of insurance claims, ensuring that they receive fair compensation. The state of Florida, recognizing the significant influence public adjusters wield, has established stringent guidelines to govern their activities. This integrated guide amalgamates the essential components of their operational and contractual standards in the Sunshine State:

1. Fundamental Contractual Requirements:

a.    All public adjuster contracts must be written in a minimum of 12-point type and titled 'Public Adjuster Contract'.

b.    Key details to be included: adjuster's full name, business address, license number, phone, and email; the name of the licensed public adjusting firm; the insured's details; description of the loss; insurance company name, and policy number (if available); compensation details; and date of contract execution.

c.    A mandated fraud statement from Sections. 817.234 and 626.8796, Florida Statutes, must be present in 18-point bold type before the insured's signature space.

d.    Contracts should categorically specify the type of claim: emergency, non-emergency, or supplemental.

e.    Public adjusters must promptly provide an untouched copy of the executed contract to the insured and within 7 days to the insurer.

2. Contract Cancellation Protocols:

a.    The insured can rescind the contract if a written estimate isn't provided to the insurer within 60 days from execution, barring uncontrollable hindrances.

b.   For claims resulting from state-declared emergencies, insured parties have an extended cancellation window: 30 days post-loss or 10 days post-contract execution, whichever lasts longer.

c.    Contracts must include a prominently displayed cancellation clause in 18-point bold type, detailing the rights and mechanisms for insured parties to annul the contract.

3. Fee Structures and Restrictions for Public Adjusters:

a.    General caps for residential property and condominium unit owner policies:

       I. 20% for standard claims; and

       II. 10% for claims from declared emergencies for one year post-event. After this period, it reverts to 20%.

b.    Special scenarios:

       I. A 1% fee limit applies if the insurer commits to a coverage-limit payment within specific early periods post-loss or post-contract execution.

       II. Fees should not be charged for claim portions settled or committed by insurers before the adjuster's contract or on deductible segments.

       III. Adjusters must not charge fees on the Additional Living Expense segment unless a separate agreement is in place, complete with a requisite consumer disclosure.

c.    General restrictions:

       I. Adjusters cannot enhance fees merely because of litigation.

       II. They must not charge without a contract or bind insured parties to third-party service costs without explicit consent.

       III. If adjusters represent entities other than the insured, the third party, not the insured, must bear their fees.

       IV. Public adjusters cannot charge fees on the deductible portion of a claim.

In the realm of insurance claims, the role of public adjusters is undeniably crucial. They serve as vital intermediaries, ensuring policyholders are rightfully compensated and that the claim process unfolds smoothly. With such a pivotal role, understanding the governing rules in Florida becomes paramount for policyholders. Florida's rigorous guidelines not only establish a fair playing ground but also ensure that the rights of the insured are protected against any potential malpractice. Knowledge of these standards ensures that both policyholders and public adjusters can engage in a transparent and ethical manner, fostering trust and efficiency in the claim process. As you navigate the complexities of insurance claims in the Sunshine State, staying informed about these regulations will empower you to make informed decisions and ensure a just outcome.

NOTE: this article is a short guide, and is not exhaustive, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal advice. You should independently consult with legal counsel and ensure that your contracts, processes, and client interactions strictly comply with all requirements of Florida law.

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