Did You Know Your Catastrophe Adjuster May Have Zero Experience?
In the event of a major catastrophic event, like a hurricane, many insurance companies usually become quickly under staffed. Most insurance companies maintain a small staff of in-house adjusters, so often times they outsource their claim handling to independent adjusting companies. These independent adjusting companies hire independent adjusters. Insurance adjusters play the most important role during your insurance claim process because they inspect and assess your claim’s damages.
Although this may not seem like a problem, when major catastrophes happens in Florida unexpectedly, the Florida insurance companies scramble to find independent adjusters to handle the thousands of new claims. In these critical times, the state of Florida allows for licensing of emergency adjusters; whose standards of licensing are reduced in order to quickly provide licensed emergency adjusters.
Here are the minimum standards an emergency adjuster must meet to be licensed in Florida:
- Complete an online application with the Florida Department of Financial Service.
- Be over eighteen years old.
- Have no criminal history.
- Operate a computer software for estimating.
- Pay a $50 fee.
- The emergency adjusters are vouched for by the independent insurance adjusting companies that employed them; and the independent insurance adjusting companies are vouched for by the insurance companies that employ them.
So policyholders may have these under qualified insurance adjusters inspecting your home and/or business for damages and may have zero experience in adjusting insurance claims!
Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer of the Florida Department of Financial Services, warns “Following a storm, they [homeowners and business owners] should also be aware of the potential for scams that attempt to take advantage of storm victims. When hiring a contractor or working with a public adjuster, we encourage consumers to make sure that he or she is appropriately licensed.”
Most consumers don’t know that Public Adjusters in Florida are required to meet very stringent standards by The Florida Department of Insurance. Here are some of the requirements placed on Florida public insurance adjusters to be a licensed professional by the Florida Department of Insurance:
- Be eighteen years old.
- Be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check.
- Study the Florida Public Adjuster Study Manual and take a specialized course to receive an Accredited Claims Adjuster designation.
- Pass a proctored Florida state exam.
- Carry a $50,000 surety bond.
- Maintain Twenty Four hours every two years of continuing education
Further new public insurance adjusters in Florida are required as a pre-requisite to first obtain Public Adjuster Apprentice license. To become an apprentice the new public adjuster must complete at a minimum of 100 hours of employment and training per month for at least 12 months under the direct supervision of a licensed public adjuster. After the supervising public adjuster certifies that the training has taken place, the apprentice must pass another proctored state examination to become a licensed public adjuster.
The Florida Administrative Code requires public adjusters to meet higher ethical requirements than insurance company adjusters and it is mandatory to take special course on ethics as designed by the state of Florida.
Florida Public Adjusters take their license and role in advocating for the insuring public very serious.
If a hurricane, tornado, flood, or major storm hits Florida, don’t rely on inexperienced emergency or catastrophe insurance adjusters, choose a public adjuster with the credentials to represent you. Advocate Claims has been empowering policy holders for over 10 years. Call today to speak with a knowledgeable, experienced public insurance adjuster that has the proper licensing to advocate for you!
Advocate Claims Public Adjusters
“Empowering the Policy Holder”