Signing of SB 1598 into Florida Law Marks a Significant Turning Point in Combatting Unlicensed Claim
With insurance reform being a top priority in the state, Governor Ron DeSantis’s recently signed SB 1598 into law.
In a recent press release, CFO Jimmy Patronis stated, “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to change the culture that favors special interests over Florida insurance consumers. While we have made much progress, there is still more work to do and I applaud Governor DeSantis for signing this critical legislation and the Legislature for putting consumers first.
Every year as CFO, I’ve worked to empower Floridians and rid our state of bad actors that come between consumers and their insurance policy. We must stop the use of unscrupulous business tactics that prey on Florida consumers during some of their most difficult times.
How the New Law Affects Public Adjusters
The new law requires public insurance adjusters to provide a written estimate to consumers in 60 days and provide their name and license number at physical inspections. And helping to deter bad actors in the PA industry, the law also eliminates misleading practices in the industry, such as using “Medicare” or “Medicaid” in a business name and represses unlicensed transaction of insurance. The legislation also eliminates fees including the $100 fee consumers must pay to receive their unearned premium should their insurance company become insolvent. Further, the bill ensures consumer data is protected by their insurance company and prohibits the practice of initiating an insurance policy without the knowledge and consent of the policyholder. Additionally, consumers now have 10 days to cancel a contract with a public adjuster.
FAPIA Continues its Ongoing Commitment to Fighting Fraud
As part of the state’s insurance reform, the Florida Department of Financial Services (FDS), has allocated $1.8 million of the 2021-2022 budget to targeting criminal activity and investigating property and casualty homeowners fraud. The money will fund two squads of detectives from the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services to help combat fraud in Florida.
Within the PA industry, The Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) supports and continues to help fight fraud through public awareness initiatives and its Unlicensed Activity Fraud Committee. Florida residents are encouraged to report fraudulent activity by submitting a report on the FAPIA website at https://www.fapia.net/report-fraud.html.
Along with an opportunity for consumers to help crack down on bad actors, the webpage also provides detailed information on the requirements set forth by state law for PA professionals to help in spotting unscrupulous activity.
FAPIA provides this statement regarding the signing of SB 1598 into law:
The Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters worked diligently throughout the 2021 Legislative session to ensure that policyholders and public adjusters were protected from anti-consumer legislation. One of our priorities this year was to bring an end to unlicensed claim solicitation activity that has had a significant impact on the public adjusting industry through unfair and fraudulent competition by individuals who perform the work of a public adjuster without the proper training, licensing and oversight and is harmful to consumers and often misleads them in the process. Additionally, this activity resulted in higher insurance rates for Floridians and has affected the property insurance market in Florida.
There are some issues in SB 1598, like the increased right to cancel a public adjuster’s contract to 10 days. We would have preferred that not be included, however, considering that the original intent was to make it a 30-day right to cancel, we believe the final result was an overall success. In the 2021 legislative session, Florida lawmakers took some important steps to make reforms, most importantly by providing greater consumer protections and laying the groundwork for the state to better enforce laws that penalize fraudulent claims activity.
For more information on how FAPIA is helping with insurance reform, visit the FAPIA website at www.fapia.net.
HL Law Group is a boutique law firm that focuses its practice on property damage insurance claims. Call (855) 713-1212 or email us at email@example.com if you have a question or a potential claim.