The unlicensed practice of adjusting insurance claims is a third degree felony as provided by Section 626.8738, Florida Statutes.
Contractors that attempt to solicit victims of hurricane disasters and other catastrophes by offering assistance with their insurance claim are illegally engaging in the practice of public adjusting.
If a contractor acts as a public adjuster by negotiating or effecting the settlement of an insurance claim on behalf of an insured and are performing any of these services for money, commission, or anything of value without being licensed as a public adjuster (Section 626.854, Florida Statutes), that person is subject to arrest.
If someone is both a contractor and a licensed public adjuster, that person cannot enter into a contract to do both the public adjusting and the construction work on the same property as per Florida Statute 626.8795, Public adjusters; prohibition of conflict of interest:
"A public adjuster may not participate, directly or indirectly, in the reconstruction, repair, or restoration of damaged property that is the subject of a claim adjusted by the licensee; may not engage in any other activities that may be reasonably construed as a conflict of interest, including soliciting or accepting any remuneration from, of any kind or nature, directly or indirectly; and may not have a financial interest in any salvage, repair, or any other business entity that obtains business in connection with any claim that the public adjuster has a contract or an agreement to adjust."
The definition of a public adjuster, as explained in Section 626.854, Florida Statutes, is any person, except an attorney, who, for money or any other thing of value (which would include securing a contract for repairs):
- Prepares, completes or files an insurance claim form for an insured.
- Aids in any manner on behalf of an insured in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim.
- Advertises or solicits for employment as an adjuster of such claims.
If you should have any questions about what activities constitute acting as a public adjuster, please contact the Florida Department of Financial Services at 850-413-3136.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].