Florida Association of Insurance Adjusters: Look at geology, not public adjusters, for the rise in sinkhole claims
May 3, 2011
The following article was published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel on May 3, 2011:
David Beasly: Look at geology, not public adjusters, for the rise in sinkhole claims
By David Beasley
Don Brown’s column on sinkhole insurance (“Sinkholes are big business for lawyers, public adjusters,” Sunday, Feb. 27) paints a scary picture about sinkhole claims, relying on statistics from the Office of Insurance Regulation.
Brown concludes that sinkhole insurance claims are on the rise because trial lawyers and public adjusters — licensed and extensively trained insurance experts who represent homeowners — are “gaming” the system. Perhaps he should have looked more closely at the OIR report he mentions.
As a former chairman of the Florida House Insurance Committee, Brown must know that state law requires all insurance adjusters to report suspected fraud. Yet according to the OIR report, even as the number of sinkhole claims has risen, the number of claims referred for fraud investigation has drastically decreased, to just 0.12 percent in 2010.
He also badly inflates the number of public adjusters in Florida. As Brown knows, public adjusters must not only be licensed but also appointed by the state to practice public adjusting. Currently, only 1,386 public adjusters hold appointments to practice their craft, less than half the number Brown quotes in his article. (And, unlike Brown’s inference to an expanding industry, the number of public adjusters is actually decreasing.)