Convinced that if legislators actually read the details these changes would never be proposed
BY AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC INSURANCE ADJUSTERS
WASHINGTON, April 14 -- /PRNewswire/ -- AAPIA, a nationally known association serving public insurance adjusters, is aggressively on record opposing HB 1181 and Senate Bill 2264, two Florida legislative bills that would significantly dilute consumer protections and defy commonsense if they were passed; AAPIA has faith that once Florida legislators understand the ramifications of each, the bills will be swiftly relegated to the dustbin of Tallahassee.
AAPIA's mission has always been to assist the profession and its clients with understanding homeowners' insurance policies and business insurance policies. Public Insurance Adjusters serve an important service to consumers, helping them to navigate the often complex and difficult issues they face after suffering property damage. The benefits are real, and tangible: when public adjusters are utilized by homeowners after a loss, those homeowners are able to recover an additional 500% to 700% on their claims above what they have already been paid (OPPAGA report Jan 2010 report 10-06).
The two Bills being considered by the Florida legislature may have the right intent, but they are certain to harm the very consumers that need the most help. The new legislation proposes two significant changes to the law, each of which would harm the consumer:
- 10%-20% Fee Cap on the Overall Claim: This cap on fees would hinder the ability of public insurance adjusters to help consumers with small claims. These are the consumers who typically need the most help in understanding their policies.
- A 3-year limit vs. the current 5-year limit on the Statute of Limitations: This shortened time to bring claims would hurt the consumer who may not realize the extent of property damage for years due to delays in repairs, especially if the initial estimate was less than consumer's deductible amount. Instead, to protect the consumer, AAPIA proposes a reconsideration of the change to the 3-year limitation to address insureds who have legitimate damage for 5 years beyond the damage-causing event.
AAPIA is steadfast in its mission to further strengthen consumer protections, and so, offers the following additions to the legislation:
- Accountability for Public Adjusters: All licensed public adjusters should be required to carry a minimum of $2,000,000 of errors and omissions coverage pursuant to a policy of insurance with a deductible of no more than $20,000.
- Accountability for Insurance Companies: If an insured files a supplemental claim against an insurance company and recovers at least one-hundred percent (100%) more than the amount paid by the insurance company on the initial claim, then the insurance company shall pay the fees and costs of the insured's public adjuster as incurred by the insured, pursuant to the written contract with the public adjuster.
AAPIA recently conducted an interview with the Distinguished Law Professor at Rutgers University, Jay M. Feinman, who recently published a book entitled "Delay Deny Defend, "Why Insurance Companies Don't Pay Claims And What You Can Do About It"! This two-part interview can be heard on our web site www.aapia.org. We believe every homeowner should obtain a copy of this book to begin to know their rights when it comes to property loss of any proportion.
AAPIA believes that if every legislator would read what was reported in this text, the anti-consumer legislation proposed in Florida would never be considered, much less enacted.
AAPIA urges all Public Insurance Adjusters and policy holders in Florida – and around the nation -- to pay attention to these issues, as the Florida Legislature takes up both Bills; if enacted, these bills would limit homeowners ability to submit claims, and would limit the help available to them. Neither option is acceptable.
SOURCE American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters