Public adjusting, although extant in other states, is a serious and increasingly prevalent part of the claims process in Florida. New licensing rules and regulations have arisen for Florida public adjusters and the road to licensure is going to become very difficult in February 2009. Persons interested in public adjusting in Florida should strongly consider obtaining their license before regulations make it prohibitively difficult to do so. Follow the ensuing guidelines to become a licensed and compliant PA in Florida before February ’09:
What Public Adjusters Do
Initially, let’s be clear on what public adjusters do. According to Section 626.854 of Florida Statutes, a public adjuster is “any person, except an attorney, who, for money or any other thing of value (which would include securing a contract for repairs):
1) Prepares, completes or files an insurance claim form for an insured.
2) Aids in any manner on behalf of an insured in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim.
3) Advertises or solicits for employment as an adjuster of such claims.”
Thus contractors who are attempting to help policyholders with their claim may be doing so illegally. Persons in violation are subject to arrest and could even be charged with third-degree felony as prescribed by Section 626.8738 of Florida Statues. Obtaining the public adjuster license is the surest means of staying in compliance.
How to Get the License
With that in mind, Florida Department of Financial Services mandates that public adjusters pass the state adjuster exam before successfully applying for the 3-20 All-Lines PA license. This exam can be difficult with an extremely low percentage of unstudied test takers passing. Exam prep courses, designed specifically for passing the exam, can dramatically increase the chances of success. Contact the Florida Department of Financial Services to schedule your exam. Once you have passed the state exam you will be able to successfully apply for any of the following licenses:
o 3-20 All-Lines
o 3-21 Motor Vehicle Physical Damage and Mechanical Breakdown
o 3-24 Workers’ Compensation
o 3-40 Health
o 3-44 Property and Casualty
Keeping your License in Compliance
Public adjusters are required to maintain a 50k bond. In addition, 24 hours of Continuing Education with 2 hours of ethics are required every two years. After February 2009, these rules may be subject to change so be sure check with the Florida Department of Financial Services to stay current with PA compliance issues.