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Volume 6, No. 5 - May 2017

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

Public Adjusters - Are You Ready For Hurricane Season?

The time to be sure your license is in compliance is now - not when a storm is heading our way! This is a short checklist to ensure your license is in good standing:

  • Is your license active?
  • Are you self-appointed or appointed by an adjusting firm?
  • Do you have the required $50,000 surety bond?
  • Are you compliant with your continuing education requirements?
  • Has a primary adjuster been designated for your firm?
  • Is all contact information up-to-date? You can update it at MyProfile.
  • Are any apprentices licensed and appointed?
  • Do you have your Department issued license with you?

State of Emergency Claims - Special Requirements Upon Governor's Declaration

For claims that are based on events that are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor, and during the year after the declaration of emergency:

  • 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 ten percent (10%) of the amount of insurance claim payments made by the insurer for claims for one year after the declaration of emergency is issued.
  • The insured or claimant has 5 business days after the date on which the contract is executed to cancel a public adjuster’s contract. The work of adjusting insurance claims engages the public trust. An adjuster shall put the duty for fair and honest treatment of the claimant above the adjuster’s own interests in every instance.

The following are excerpts of the standards of conduct that define ethical behavior, and are included in the code of ethics:

  • An adjuster shall not attempt to negotiate with or obtain any statement from a claimant or witness at a time that the claimant or witness is, or would reasonably be expected to be, in shock or serious mental or emotional distress as a result of physical, mental, or emotional trauma associated with a loss.
  • An adjuster shall not directly or indirectly refer or steer any claimant needing repairs or other services in connection with a loss to any person with whom the adjuster has an undisclosed financial interest.
  • A public adjuster shall not prevent, or attempt to dissuade or prevent, an insured or claimant from speaking privately with the insurer, company employee adjuster, independent adjuster, attorney, or any other person, regarding the settlement of the claim.
  • A public adjuster shall not enter into a contract or accept a power of attorney which vests in the public adjuster the effective authority to choose the persons who shall perform repair work.

Please refer to Section 69B-220.201, Florida Administrative Code for the full Adjuster Code of Ethics.

Court Upholds Florida Workers' Compensation Rate Increase

The First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee has upheld the 14.5% rate increase in Florida workers’ compensation rates that was approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) in October of last year.­ The rate increase, which took effect for all new and renewal policies starting December 1, 2016, had been challenged in court but will now remain in effect as a result of the Court’s order.­

The District Court of Appeal overturned and reversed a Leon County Circuit judge who had ruled that NCCI’s rate filing and the Insurance Commissioner’s subsequent rate order approving the 14.5% increase was invalid because the process violated Florida’s Sunshine Law.­ In a lengthy opinion, the Court ruled that both NCCI and OIR had properly complied with the laws governing rate-making for workers’ compensation insurance in Florida.

The effect of the Court’s Order is that the 14.5% rate increase that has been in effect since December 1, 2016, will remain in effect.

The Florida Statutes Are Available Online

The Florida Statutes can be viewed at Online Sunshine - Title XXXVII Insurance.