Since we are in the midst of the 2018 Hurricane Season, which means that at any moment a hurricane could strike Florida, what often happens after a hurricane is that contractors from all over Florida and the US arrive to make money repairing damages. Noble Public Adjusting Group does not mean to alarm our blog readers who are homeowners and commercial property owners in Florida. However, you need to know what the law has to say about unscrupulous contractors posing as public adjusters. We would like to think that everyone is honest, but sadly that is often not so. Of course, there are many honest contractors, and Noble keeps a list of vetted Florida contractors to help you return your property to its pre-loss condition after damages received due to a hurricane.
Illegal For Contractor to Handle A Florida Property Insurance Claim
This blog post is specifically written to let Florida property owners know that if a contractor approaches you after a hurricane, telling you that they can handle your insurance claim, they are actually on their way to committing a crime. A contractor CANNOT handle a Florida property insurance claim. If they do, they are acting as unlicensed public adjusters, which is against the law. Below is an actual warning to contractors from the website of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis:
Industry Warning: Contractors
Public Adjuster License Needed To Assist With Claims
“Sometimes contractors attempt to help victims of disasters by offering assistance with their insurance claim. If they do so they may illegally be engaging in the practice of public adjusting without being properly licensed by the Department of Financial Services.
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
However, the contractor may discuss or explain a bid for construction or repair of covered property with the residential property owner who has suffered loss or damage covered by a property insurance policy, or the insurer of such property, if the contractor is doing so for the usual and customary fees applicable to the work to be performed as stated in the contract between the contractor and the insured.
If you are acting as a public adjuster in any manner by negotiating or effecting the settlement of an insurance claim on behalf of an insured and you 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), you could be subject to arrest and may be charged with a third-degree felony as provided by Section 626.8738, Florida Statutes.
If you should become licensed as a Public Adjuster, you cannot enter into a contract to do both the public adjusting and construction work on the same property 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.”
If you should have any questions about what activities constitute acting as a public adjuster, please contact the Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Investigation at 850-413-3136 or through its website, www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents.”
As you can see, Florida does not take contractors posing as public adjusters lightly. When you have damages to your home or business property in Florida and you need the services of a public adjuster, we hope that you will choose the best public adjuster in Florida, Noble Public Adjusting Group, to handle your insurance claim. The fact is, you should never try to take on big corporate insurance on your own. They are in the business of making money, like any other business, and they are not on your side. Noble works for you, the policyholder, not for insurance companies. We fight the good fight, making sure you get the largest settlement possible for your insurance claim. Noble’s home office is in Panama City Beach, but we can handle an insurance claim anywhere in Florida. We have several offices across Florida, and also offices in Texas and Georgia.
After a hurricane, if you need to find a reputable contractor to take your property back to its pre-loss condition, remember that Noble keeps an updated list of contractors in Florida that we have personally vetted. Call us and we will suggest the right contractor for your specific needs.
Noble Public Adjusting Group
107 Amar Place Suite 103
Panama City Beach (West End), FL 32413