You’ve seen the television commercials warning you ‘not to speak to the insurance adjuster!’. Attorneys and public adjusters caution the public that insurance companies have their attorneys fighting for them and you need an attorney or public adjuster fighting for you!
However, there is a big difference between an attorney and a PA. Attorneys are required to graduate college, attend 3 years of law school and pass a rigorous state bar examination. Adjusters who represent property owners against insurance companies must pass a 100 question licensing test with no prerequisite course of study at all.
During the 2004-2005 storms the University of Central Florida received call after call from candidates, particularly in South Florida, who wanted to qualify for a 3-20 license. NOTE: Adjusters who represent property owners are paid a percentage fee from any monies recovered on behalf of the client.
When callers were asked if they had any claims experience, it was often the case that the new applicant was going to serve as a ‘sales person’ rather than an adjuster, but they needed a license to solicit clients.
What that meant was that the new licensee was going to personally call on disaster victims trying to sell them on a PA firm’s services. Making that sale meant that the sales person would receive a percentage of any insurance recovery.
Now attorneys are not allowed to go to someone’s house and solicit clients, so the question must be raised, why does Florida allow Public Adjusters to solicit clients in person? Honestly, there is no good answer to that question. contact a public adjuster in dallas
Disaster victims are vulnerable and for that reason, attorneys may not engage in solicitation. Public Adjusters argue that property owners need that information, but the same argument could be made for legal services as well.
LICENSING AND APPRENTICESHIP
As of January 1, 2009, new licensee candidates will no longer be allowed to just take the state licensing examination. They will be required to serve a 12 month apprenticeship under the guidance of a licensed 3-20 Adjuster. Sounds good, except there is no requirement that any licensed PA actually provide an apprenticeship.
The Catch 22 is that while new Public Adjusters must serve an apprenticeship, there are not likely to be many, if any at all, available. PA’s are not required to actually provide apprenticeships to new applicants. If there are few or no apprenticeships, there will be no new public adjusters competing with existing firms for those contingency fees.
ATTORNEYS VS PUBLIC ADJUSTERS
Why would a property owner hire a PA rather than an attorney? Public adjusters will claim that they know the claims process better than attorneys. This may be true in some instances, since some public adjusters come from an extensive claims background, however many do not.
One thing is absolutely true…all attorneys come from extensive legal training and no public adjuster is empowered to file a lawsuit or litigate a claim that cannot be settled. If you are considering hiring a public adjuster, here are some guidelines to consider: