I was recently asked in a forum regarding the HB 7065 bill if a contractor with an AOB can negotiate an insurance claim.
The law is very clear on this issue.
The short answer is that the new law, which became effective July 1, 2019, prohibits negotiation of an insurance claim by a contractor even with an AOB.
Negotiation of an insurance claim by a contractor with an AOB post HB 7065 is a violation of the unlicensed public adjusting statute (UPPA).
Violation of the UPPA law in Florida is a felony.
Section 627.7152, Florida Statutes
(6) An assignment agreement does not transfer or create any authority to adjust, negotiate, or settle any portion of a claim to a person or entity not authorized to adjust, negotiate, or settle a claim on behalf of an assignor or a claimant under part VI of chapter 626
Part VI of chapter 626:
626.854 “Public adjuster” defined; prohibitions.—The Legislature finds that it is necessary for the protection of the public to regulate public insurance adjusters and to prevent the unauthorized practice of law.
(1) A “public adjuster” is any person, except a duly licensed attorney at law as exempted under s. 626.860, who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, directly or indirectly prepares, completes, or files an insurance claim for an insured or third-party claimant or who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, acts on behalf of, or aids an insured or third-party claimant in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage covered by an insurance contract or who advertises for employment as an adjuster of such claims. The term also includes any person who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, directly or indirectly solicits, investigates, or adjusts such claims on behalf of a public adjuster, an insured, or a third-party claimant. The term does not include a person who photographs or inventories damaged personal property or business personal property or a person performing duties under another professional license, if such person does not otherwise solicit, adjust, investigate, or negotiate for or attempt to effect the settlement of a claim.
This does not mean that a contractor cannot perform reasonable tasks such as discussing or explaining a bid (estimate) with the policyholder or the insurer, as long as they are not being paid or taking a percentage of the claim value for those services.
(15) A licensed contractor under part I of chapter 489, or a subcontractor, may not adjust a claim on behalf of an insured unless licensed and compliant as a public adjuster under this chapter. However, the contractor may discuss or explain a bid for construction or repair of covered property with the residential property owner who has suffered loss or damage covered by a property insurance policy, or the insurer of such property, if the contractor is doing so for the usual and customary fees applicable to the work to be performed as stated in the contract between the contractor and the insured.
Florida is a unique state for insurance restoration contractors and caution needs to be taken to prevent violation of the law that can result in license issues, fines, and jail time.
We operate throughout the entire state and can assist with the negotiation of insurance claims the right way. Tighe P.A. is ready to be your insurance claim attorney and fight for your settlement.
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