MyFloridaCFO.com, October 10, 2022
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis provided information to Florida residents impacted by Hurricane Ian regarding their rights when working with a public adjuster on their insurance claim. A public adjuster is anyone, other than a licensed attorney, who accepts compensation in exchange for directly or indirectly helping you investigate, prepare, or file an insurance claim. Ultimately, the fee a public adjuster charges you comes out of the claims check owed to you by your insurance company. Consumers should consider carefully whether this cost is worth the benefit to them during the insurance claims process.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “If you choose to hire a public adjuster to assist with your insurance claim following Hurricane Ian, you must know your rights under Florida law. While many public adjusters are reputable, following every storm we’ve seen bad actors try to get between policyholders and their insurance claims. Consumers should keep their guard up and know their rights. You should never feel pressured to enter into a contract with a public adjuster, and Florida law prohibits them from providing gift cards or offering loans in exchange for services. Also, if you have entered into a contract with a public adjuster and are not happy, you have up to 10 days from the date you entered the contract to cancel. I want Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian to get the full amount of the proceeds from their insurance claims so they can get back on their feet as soon as possible. Know your rights and don’t let a bad actor come between you and your ability to recover quickly. If you need assistance during the claims process, call my office at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO to talk to an insurance specialist free-of-charge.”
What are my rights when dealing with a public adjuster?
If you change your mind about working with a public adjuster, Florida law affords you up to 10 days from the date you entered the contract to cancel.
To cancel, simply send written notice of cancellation via certified mail or other means that provides proof of mailing, to the address specified in your contract.
If you are concerned about the way a public adjuster is treating you, call the Florida Department of Financial Services at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).
A Public Adjuster MAY NOT:
Use any maneuver, shift or device that causes you to pay them any total amount greater than 10% of the value of your claim, excluding attorney’s fees and costs.
Prevent you from hiring a contractor of your choosing to repair your property.
Acquire an interest in property removed from your home without your written permission.
Charge you for assisting with a claim for Additional Living Expenses, unless you agree to such charges in a separate contract.
Prevent your insurance company from inspecting insured property in a timely manner.
Invite an insured to submit a claim in the absence of damages covered under an insurance policy.
Offer to loan you money, or pay you in gift cards or other consideration if you agree to sign his or her contract.
Tell you there is “no risk” to hiring a public adjuster.
Increase his or her rate of compensation simply because a claim is subject to litigation.
Offer money, kickbacks or other valuable consideration in exchange for referrals of business.
Charge you for reopening or resubmitting a claim that your insurer has previously paid, in-part or in-full.
A Public Adjuster MUST:
Provide the insured consumer with a written cost estimate of sustained losses within 60 days from the date he or she enters into a contract with an insured consumer. The written cost estimate must contain an itemized, per unit estimate for repairs.
Promptly provide a copy of their contract and a notice of the claim to your insurance company.
Public Adjusters who violate any of these provisions, or other portions of Section 626.854, Florida Statutes, are subject to fines of up to $20,000 for each violation.