Beware of Contractors Acting Like Adjusters in Florida
When you need to file a homeowners insurance claim, some natural and legitimate worries come about. Will the insurance company pay enough to fix the damage? Will I hire the right contractor? Should I hire a professional Public Adjuster? Should I just let my contractor handle the insurance claim process while I keep my head in sand?
All of these are natural things to consider when your most valuable asset or business is damaged and covered by an insurance claim. We would be remiss if we did not caution all Homeowners and Businesses with damage, about having a contractor act as your adjuster during the claim process. There is an increasing amount of contractors who are illegally acting as insurance adjusters in Florida.
When Advocate Claims takes on your project, we handle notices to your insurance carrier, demand for action in accordance with your policy, and demand timely responses in order to meet your needs. We make certain that you have the money needed and that is covered by your policy. Your contractor cannot legally negotiate on your behalf, and operates with an agenda that is neither for your needs exclusively, nor legally. Advocate Claims, as a Florida Public Adjuster, is legally allowed to advocate for your insurance claim needs, while your contractor is simply not allowed and not respected by the insurance carrier in this process.
Here is a warning to contractors that was posted on the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation:
Sometimes contractors attempt to help victims of disasters by offering assistance with their insurance claim. If they do so, they may illegally be engaging in the practice of public adjusting without being properly licensed by the Department of Financial Services.
The definition of a public adjuster, as explained in Section 626.854, Florida Statutes, is any person, except an attorney, who, for money or any other thing of value (which would include securing a contract for repairs):
Prepares, completes or files an insurance claim form for an insured.
Aids in any manner on behalf of an insured in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim. Advertises or solicits for employment as an adjuster of such claims.
If you are acting as a public adjuster in any manner by negotiating or effecting the settlement of an insurance claim on behalf of an insured and you are performing any of these services for money, commission or anything of value without being licensed as a public adjuster (Section 626.854, Florida Statutes), you could be subject to arrest and may be charged with a third-degree felony as provided by Section 626.8738, Florida Statutes.
On a recent claim in Naples, Florida, a contractor (acting as a Public Adjuster) negotiated a homeowner insurance claim for wind damage. The insurance company paid out $28,500 for the claim. The contractor used $25,500 of this claim for the roof replacement. This left the homeowner $3,000 for interior repair. The contractor charged the owner $10,500 for interior repairs, leaving the owner with an out-of-pocket cost of $7,500 for what was supposed to be insurance-covered repairs.
The legitimate cost of repair for the roof should have been $16,500. In short, the Contractor, having his own interests at heart, used the insurance claim to fleece the homeowner. As your Public Adjuster, Advocate Claims would not throw you into further financial peril in your time of need for critical repairs to your home. In this case, the homeowner was served by an insurance adjuster from the insurance company that only supported the insurance company’s agenda. The owner was then serviced by a Contractor that only had his interests in mind. No doubt, these actions by the Contractor were illegal; furthermore, the owners will not be able to quickly remedy their financial loss.
If a contractor offers to “adjust” your Florida Insurance Claim, contact Advocate Claims to assist you as your Public Adjuster. Additionally, you can contact the Department of Financial Services at 850-413-3136 to report the unlawful actions of a contractor.
At Advocate Claims, we work with many licensed, quality contractors who are serving our clients throughout the state. We do not provide this notice about Contractors to say that all contractors are engaged in this illegal action of adjusting claims. We simply echo the warning provided by the Florida State Department of Financial Services, which is on high alert for Contractors who are attempting to act in our role as Public Adjusters. By law, Advocate Claims may only represent the home or business owner and has no personal interests in the claim.
Advocate Claims handles thousands of Florida Home and Business insurance claims as a Public Adjuster. It is only natural that we would know the best way to maximize the amount of a claim, to a level to cover your cost of repairs. As your Florida Public Adjuster, we only work for you, the owner.