PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Greg Giordano (727) 848-5885
Date: June 24, 2008

Governor Signs Senator Fasano's Public Adjuster Bill,
Legislation that Will Protect the Homeowner, Into Law

State Senator Mike Fasano announces that Governor Charlie Crist has signed consumer protection legislation that makes sweeping changes to the way in which public adjusters will operate in Florida. Public adjusters are professionals who contract with consumers to provide assistance in settling property insurance claims. Due to the poor work of unqualified or unscrupulous adjusters, especially those who dealt with sinkhole claims and hurricane claims, the need to address this profession became a top priority of the Florida Legislature.

Senator Fasano, who served as the President of the Senate's representative on the Task Force on Citizens' Property Insurance Claims Handling & Resolution, was the sponsor of the Senate legislation that lead to these needed changes.

Senator Fasano's bill limits contingency fees, based on services provided, to 10% on hurricane claims and 20% on non-hurricane claims. The legislation prohibits intrusive solicitation practices of public adjusters by forbidding solicitations on Sundays and limiting solicitations to the hours between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM. Additionally, the adjuster is forbidden from soliciting or entering into a contract with a client until at least 48 hours after the occurrence of the loss as well as giving any monetary loan or advance to a client or prospective client anything of value in excess of $25.

Important changes to the licensure requirements of public adjusters are included in Senator Fasano's bill as well. All applicants must pass the public adjuster exam without exemptions, including those who have been previously licensed in another state.

Continuing education courses for public adjusters will be required. Additionally, applicants for licensure must have completed 12 months of employment as an apprentice to a licensed public adjuster before becoming a licensed adjuster.

"As we studied the way in which claims were handled during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane season, we discovered the need to overhaul the profession of public adjusters," Senator Fasano states. "While most public adjusters are decent, hardworking individuals, the bad players in the profession were causing enormous harm to vulnerable consumers devastated by partial or total loss of their homes. The new requirements contained in this legislation will ensure that only the  most professional public adjusters will be working with people in the time of their greatest need."

The bill becomes effective October 1, 2008 with the apprenticeship requirements becoming effective January 1, 2009.