With two months left to go in the Atlantic hurricane season homeowners are susceptible to storm damage from high winds, hail and torrential rains. If your house is damaged by a storm, here’s how to identify unscrupulous individuals or companies offering to help with repairs and the insurance claims process.
Following storms in Florida, it’s not uncommon to see dishonest roofers or contractors going door to door offering to do the repairs as well as handle the homeowner’s insurance claim, leaving less hassle for the homeowner. Sounds like a great offer? Think again. In the state of Florida, only a licensed public adjuster or attorney is legally allowed to handle insurance claims on your behalf.
The Problem with Using Unlicensed Adjusters
Having unlicensed people acting as public adjusters is problematic for several reasons:
• They may provide substandard work
• “Storm chaser” companies often swarm into an area following a storm, offer to do repairs and handle insurance claims and leave town before people realize the work was poorly done
• Insurance claims may be invalidated due to incompetence
• There may be delays in getting your money
• They may steal your settlement check
• They may demand a steep public adjusting fee
• They may file fraudulent or frivolous claims
• Fraudulent and frivolous claims from non-public adjusters drive premiums up for everyone
What to Watch Out For: The Unlicensed Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA)
Beware of individuals or companies participating in the Unlicensed Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA). These may be individuals, roofers, contractors or others offering to:
• Handle your insurance claim
• Negotiate with your insurance company
• Say they are a specialist in handling insurance claims
• Claim to be an insurance consultant
If You’ve Been Contacted by Someone You Suspect is Not Licensed to Adjust Claims:
• Perform a public adjuster license search through the state of Florida at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/data/aar_alis1/index.htm
• Know that even if a contractor or someone offering to remediate your work is a licensed public adjuster, they cannot participate directly or indirectly in the repair or replacement of the damaged property, nor solicit or accept any payment from the entity performing the work, nor can the have any financial interest in the entity performing the work (Florida Statute 626.8795).
• If you do want help with the insurance process, find a licensed public adjuster through the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters at www.Fapia.net (https://www.fapia.net/public-adjuster-directory.html) and then check them out with the Better Business Bureau.
Ways to Report Those Participating in the Unlicensed Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA)
• Call the Florida Department of Financial Services at 1-877-693-5236
• Fill out a report at www.fapia.net/report-uppa.html
• Call FAPIA Headquarters at 866-235-6489.
Reliant works closely with insurance companies and only works with homeowners who have legitimate claims. We hire a licensed public adjuster to represent the homeowner and to work with the insurance company. The only money the homeowner is responsible for is their insurance deductible.