Florida Department of Financial Services Reviews Proposed Public Adjuster Rules
Mar 22, 2012
The Florida Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) held a Rule Workshop today, March 22, 2012, on proposed Rules 69B-220.051 and 68B-220.201 relating to public adjusters and public adjuster apprentices. To access the meeting notice, click here.
Division of Agent and Agency Services Financial Administrator Eric Purvis presided over the Workshop, which he opened by noting the current Rules have been in place since 2006. Since then, several statutory changes have been made, particularly by Senate Bill 408, which passed during the 2011 Regular Legislative Session. Mr. Purvis explained that the Rule amendments are necessary to reflect the changes, as well as to remove duplicative provisions currently in statute. Following his brief opening, interested parties provided public testimony.
A consumer group representative raised several concerns about the proposed Rule. First, he stated that public adjusters should not be required to develop a form that is to be signed by the insured relating to settlements as indicated in section (7) of 220.051, F.S. He also suggested that the DFS reinstate several provisions that have been deleted. For example, there are sections that strike the requirement for a public adjuster to comply with an insurance contract and act with due diligence. DFS officials noted these provisions were removed because they are currently required in statute.
The consumer representative also suggested that the DFS should add a section requiring all adjusters to advise the insured that he or she has a right to legal counsel. The DFS officials removed language advising insureds of their claim rights to ensure a public adjuster does not engage in the unlicensed practice of law. He was concerned about the provision that requires adjusters to give the claimant five days to review the claim before the adjuster can submit it. In conclusion, he asked the DFS officials to view changes to the Rules from the eyes of the insured and protect them.
A representative from Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters also raised several concerns in the proposed Rules. He stated the direct supervision definition is unworkable because a public adjuster may have three apprentices working under him or her. He also raised concerns relating to advertising prohibitions by persons other than a licensed public adjuster as a violation of free speech. Section (5) in 220.051, F.S. relating to required contract terms was also troubling, he said, because the provision violates the Rulemaking authority granted by statute. He then addressed the five-day provision, which he said will slow claims, and suggested that the DFS strike new language in (4)(e) and (f) in 220.201, F.S. because it is unnecessary. The provisions put various restrictions on public adjusters. He also opposed a provision requiring public adjusters to respond to requests for claims status within 30 days in non-emergences.
The DFS officials noted the concerns raised during the Workshop, but did not address what, if any changes would be made. Next, a public hearing will be held on the proposed Rules.
The record for this Workshop will remain open until March 30 for additional written comments.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.
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