Section 626.854, Florida Statutes 2009
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 hereinafter in s. 626.860 provided, who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, prepares, completes, or files an insurance claim form for an insured or third-party claimant or who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, acts or aids in any manner on behalf of 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, and also includes any person who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, solicits, investigates, or adjusts such claims on behalf of any such public adjuster.
(2) This definition does not apply to:
(a) A licensed health care provider or employee thereof who prepares or files a health insurance claim form on behalf of a patient.
(b) A person who files a health claim on behalf of another and does so without compensation.
(3) A public adjuster may not give legal advice. A public adjuster may not act on behalf of or aid any person in negotiating or settling a claim relating to bodily injury, death, or noneconomic damages.
(4) For purposes of this section, the term "insured" includes only the policyholder and any beneficiaries named or similarly identified in the policy.
(5) A public adjuster may not directly or indirectly through any other person or entity solicit an insured or claimant by any means except on Monday through Saturday of each week and only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on those days.
(6) A public adjuster may not directly or indirectly through any other person or entity initiate contact or engage in face-to-face or telephonic solicitation or enter into a contract with any insured or claimant under an insurance policy until at least 48 hours after the occurrence of an event that may be the subject of a claim under the insurance policy unless contact is initiated by the insured or claimant.
(7) An insured or claimant may cancel a public adjuster's contract to adjust a claim without penalty or obligation within 3 business days after the date on which the contract is executed or within 3 business days after the date on which the insured or claimant has notified the insurer of the claim, by phone or in writing, whichever is later. The public adjuster's contract shall disclose to the insured or claimant his or her right to cancel the contract and advise the insured or claimant that notice of cancellation must be submitted in writing and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or other form of mailing which provides proof thereof, to the public adjuster at the address specified in the contract; provided, during any state of emergency as declared by the Governor and for a period of 1 year after the date of loss, the insured or claimant shall have 5 business days after the date on which the contract is executed to cancel a public adjuster's contract.
(8) It is an unfair and deceptive insurance trade practice pursuant to s. 626.9541 for a public adjuster or any other person to circulate or disseminate any advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the business of insurance which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading.
(9) A public adjuster, a public adjuster apprentice, or any person or entity acting on behalf of a public adjuster or public adjuster apprentice may not give or offer to give a monetary loan or advance to a client or prospective client.
(10) A public adjuster, public adjuster apprentice, or any individual or entity acting on behalf of a public adjuster or public adjuster apprentice may not give or offer to give, directly or indirectly, any article of merchandise having a value in excess of $25 to any individual for the purpose of advertising or as an inducement to entering into a contract with a public adjuster.
(11)(a) If a public adjuster enters into a contract with an insured or claimant to reopen a claim or to file a supplemental claim that seeks additional payments for a claim that has been previously paid in part or in full or settled by the insurer, the public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept any compensation, payment, commission, fee, or other thing of value based on a previous settlement or previous claim payments by the insurer for the same cause of loss. The charge, compensation, payment, commission, fee, or other thing of value may be based only on the claim payments or settlement obtained through the work of the public adjuster after entering into the contract with the insured or claimant. The contracts described in this paragraph are not subject to the limitations in paragraph (b).
(b) A public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept any compensation, payment, commission, fee, or other thing of value in excess of:
1. Ten percent of the amount of insurance claim payments by the insurer for claims based on events that are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor. This provision applies to claims made during the period of 1 year after the declaration of emergency.
2. Twenty percent of the amount of all other insurance claim payments.
(12) Each public adjuster shall provide to the claimant or insured a written estimate of the loss to assist in the submission of a proof of loss or any other claim for payment of insurance proceeds. The public adjuster shall retain such written estimate for at least 5 years and shall make such estimate available to the claimant or insured and the department upon request.
(13) A public adjuster, public adjuster apprentice, or any person acting on behalf of a public adjuster or apprentice may not accept referrals of business from any person with whom the public adjuster conducts business if there is any form or manner of agreement to compensate the person, whether directly or indirectly, for referring business to the public adjuster. A public adjuster may not compensate any person, except for another public adjuster, whether directly or indirectly, for the principal purpose of referring business to the public adjuster.
The provisions of subsections (5)-(13) apply only to residential property insurance policies and condominium association policies as defined in s. 718.111(11).
History.--s. 317, ch. 59-205; s. 3, ch. 81-282; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 293, 807, 810, ch. 82-243; s. 25, ch. 88-166; ss. 206, 207, ch. 90-363; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 95-238; s. 10, ch. 2008-220; s. 3, ch. 2009-87.