We all know how insurance companies can frustrate us when it comes to making claims. The delay that comes with the compensation process is painful. If the process is not duly followed up by competent, qualified persons, the whole procedure may make us feel like dissolving ourselves in acid.
The situation of waiting for what we rightfully deserve can be frustrating; especially if the delay affects our daily routine. So, when I think of noble professions that make a difference in people’s lives on a regular basis, I can’t help but be grateful to public adjusters. These heaven-sent humans can only be compared to superheroes. Public adjusters are always there to save our world when all seems to be crashing down on us.
Finding ourselves in scenarios where we have to wait to be compensated is so heartbreaking. If we do not have a person who regularly follows up with the insurance company on our behalf, the terrible feeling that comes with the slow response of insurance firms may eat us within like a corrosive acid. It is so apparent that not getting rightful compensation after years of religious payment of premiums may take a toll on our lives.
We have seen instances where people’s health deteriorate because of high-stress levels. Finding ourselves in such situations make us feel cheated and robbed. Not getting what we rightfully deserve from insurance companies on time may have us plunge into a stressful world of destitute and desperation.
With that said, it is my firm opinion that we all need public adjusters in times of crisis for swift and fair compensation by insurance firms. Sit back, take a deep breath and relax as we sail you through a sea of information on public adjusters, their roles, and how you can register and get a license as a public adjuster in Florida.
Types of Adjusters You Can Apply For.
There are three types of adjusters:
- Independent Adjusters.
- Staff Adjusters.
- Public Adjusters.
Independent adjusters and staff adjusters have the same job descriptions. They both prepare claims for damaged property on behalf of the insuring company. This includes commercial and residential property, recreational vehicles, automobiles and more. Whatever property you have, as long as it has monetary value and has the potential to get damaged, you will always need an insurance claim. That is where independent and staff adjusters come in.
So, what differentiates independent adjusters from staff adjusters? The difference is quite simple. It all depends on how they are employed. Staff adjusters work on a full-time basis for individual insurance companies. They are assigned to specific territories and are paid an annual salary as well as other benefits.
On the other hand, independent adjusters may work for various insurance companies at the same time. They usually register their names with adjusting agencies. An adjusting agency’s role is more or less like that a middleman’s role; it acts as an intermediary between insurance companies and independent adjusters.
However, our primary focus is on public adjusters. Their role is entirely different from the role of independent and staff adjusters. Mostly, public adjusters do not prepare initial claim estimates. They work as claimants’ advocate who negotiates with insurance carriers. Claimants solicit services of public adjusters when they feel they need to have a second estimate, or if they need skillful negotiators to help them recover their damaged property at the highest potential value.
The Type of Claims Public Adjusters Deal With.
When disaster strikes, the most prudent thing to do is seek the services of a public adjusting company before getting in touch with your insurance company. Public Adjusting Companies have the capability of representing insured claimants in different types of losses which occur for different kinds of properties covered by the insurance policy. Such companies have the expertise of public adjusters with years of experience tied under their belts. They deal with the following types of losses:
a) Smoke Losses.
b) Rain Losses.
c) Fire Losses.
d) Vandalism Losses.
e) Windstorm and Hurricane Losses.
f) Lightning Losses.
g) Business Interruption Losses.
h) Water Losses.
i) Robbery or Burglary Losses.
j) Roof Leaks Losses.
l) Toilet Overflow Losses.
m) Civil Commotion or Riot Losses.
n) Accidental Spills Losses.
o) Electrical Damage and Power Surges Losses.
p) Frozen and Broken Pipes Losses.
Public adjusters have the details of all insurance policies at their fingertips. They not only know the amount you are entitled to, but they also help you fill the answers on an insurance claim to avoid incomplete or incorrect responses. Filling in proper responses to insurance company’s questions helps avoid unfair reduction to the amount offered in the claim.
All You Need to Know about Public Adjuster’s Job Requirements.
According to the United States BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), public adjusters’ licensure requirements vary from state to state. Some states have lengthy processes while others have few requirements. Some states will require one to graduate from approved educational programs after successful completion of some examinations. Continuing your education is a crucial requirement of maintaining a state license.
Public adjusters should have excellent mathematics and communication skills. Clients rely on public adjusters to get their job done. It is for this reason that they should be persistent and assertive so that they can uncover the truth about case claims.
What Do Public Adjuster Enthusiasts Need to Know About Adjuster Bonds?
If you are a public adjuster enthusiast, you may have heard of the public adjuster bond. What is it and why is it necessary? For anyone to successfully run a public adjusting firm in Florida, they need to acquire a public adjuster bond. It is more like a license that assures your clients that your firm is not involved in dubious trades.
All public adjusters have to go an extra mile to file surety bonds with the state they reside in, in our case, the great state of Florida, for them to be licensed-there isn’t a precise nationwide bond requirement, and the bond amount varies from state to state.
A public adjuster bond is meant to protect the state where your operations run, as well as its citizens, from unlawful actions your firm might be involved in. Obtaining a bond is a sign that shows commitment to your clients that your firm is safe to contract or do business with. Public adjuster bonds are similar to other surety bonds. It operates like a three-party contract agreement.
Your public adjuster firm is the principle which needs to post this bond. The state authority which requires you to be bonded is the obligee. The bond provider is the surety. Failure to comply with your state’s regulations that govern the trade may result in severe consequences.
Your business may face a claim, and if the claim (bond claim) is proven, your company may not only be shut down, but you will also find yourself facing legal charges in a court of law. You will be slapped with heavy penalties that may take a toll on your finances.
The Process of Acquiring a Public Adjuster License in Florida.
If you want to set up a public adjusting firm in Florida, you will need to visit Florida’s Department of Financial Services to seek the services of the state’s Chief Financial Officer. It is here that you will be advised on the steps to take. It is crucial to go through the steps that will be explained to you to avoid going down on the wrong path. It is essential to safeguard the name of your adjusting firm, protect its reputation at all costs. Getting on the wrong side of the law is the last thing your business needs.
During the licensing process, the Division carefully examines all public adjusters’ profiles. It makes sure that they adhere to several requirements that are considered vital for strong work ethics. The standards include previous business knowledge and experience, criminal background checks, and successful completion of the state’s examination. The reason for this procedure is to assure adjusters’ clients that they are dealing with trustworthy professionals who are highly qualified. Upon obtaining the license, you need to ensure that it is always active during your operations. It is a criminal offense to engage in the public adjusting business without a proper license that is up-to-date.
How to Meet Florida’s Public Adjuster License Requirements.
Other than filling an online application form, Florida’s public adjusters have to produce some documents required by the state’s Division. The most crucial requirements are:
a) Proof that you are of the age of majority (18 years old and above)
b) Proof that you are a U.S citizen or an immigrant with proper documentation from the U.S Immigration Department.
c) Documents supporting or indicating that you successfully completed the 40-hour public adjuster training or proof that you have previous experience as an adjusting officer.
d) Payment of a mandatory $45.80 fee after undergoing fingerprinting.
e) Payment of a $5 license ID fee, $50 application fee, $60 appointment fee, and an exam fee that costs $42.
f) Posting a $50,000 bond (surety bond)
You will be notified by Florida’s Department of Financial Services about successful application upon its approval of its review. You will then be required to print the license which will be on your online profile. To maintain the state of Florida’s appointment, you are required to meet the continuing education threshold. There is no need for license renewal, but if you lack an appointment that runs through 48 months (4 years), you might lose your license.
Special Note: It is crucial for all Florida public adjusters to note that they cannot own more than one (1) license at any particular time.
Where should potential public adjusters submit their license application?
Getting a public adjusters’ license is quick and simple, to jumpstart their public adjuster career, all Florida applicants aiming to be recognized as public adjusters should submit their application to the ‘Department of Financial Services Bureau of Licensing online portal.’ They are also expected to mail their employment records as well as their surety bonds to the Licensing Bureau.
Posting a Public Adjuster Bond in Florida Basics.
As pointed out earlier, one of the crucial requirements of obtaining a public adjuster license in the state of Florida is getting bonded. The state’s bond amount is $50,000. This surety bond acts as an additional layer for the security of the state authorities. The amount is not only meant to protect your clients, but it also ensures you comply with the obligations indicated in Florida’s Statutes (Statute 626.854- 626.865).
These statutes are crystal clear on the dos and don’ts of a public adjuster in relation to the fees charged to claimants, timeframe notice to claimants on onsite inspection of insured properties and meeting schedules as well as the claimant’s right to waive the 48-hour ( 2 days) notice. It is in the best interest of all public adjusters operating their businesses in the state of Florida to familiarize themselves with these statutes in detail. Failure to comply with these regulations may result to all affected parties making bond claims for reimbursement purposes.
For public adjusters to get bonded, they have to cover a small percentage of the total bond amount, which is usually their surety bond price. If their finances are promising, they may cover only a fraction on their surety at the rate of 1%-5%. What this means is that their bond can be as low as 500-2500 Dollars.
The exact price is usually formulated according to their business and personal finances. Their surety examines their assets and liquidity, their company finances, and their credit score. This is one of the ways assessment of their bonding risk is involved. If they have an overall solid profile, they can expect lower bond costs.
Important Notice: All Florida Public adjusters should take note that they are prohibited from making misleading or deceptive solicitations or advertisements. The following statements by public adjusters are considered misleading or deceptive.
i) A representation or statement inviting insured policyholders to submit claims when the policyholders don’t have covers insuring their damaged properties.
ii) A representation or statement asking insured policyholders to file claims by stating there are no risks to policyholders by submitting such applications.
iii) A representation or statement inviting insured policyholders to submit claims by offering valuable inducements or monies.
iv) A statement or representation, or use of a shield or logo, which imply or can be mistaken to suggest that solicitation was distributed or issued by government agencies.