AAPIA continues to monitor new legislative proposals and Bills all across the country to protect your ability to conduct your business and keep you informed. Scroll down for some highlights of what is happening in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and Colorado. And, stay tuned for further announcements of our first live AAPIA CE program.
New York: Act 5775 became law on 12-18-13 and took effect on 1-1-14, which restricts public adjusters from receiving a referral fee or having an ownership interest in a restoration or repair company working on the claim unless such compensation to the public adjuster is stated in the contract or other written disclosure form. Further, the aggregate of all fees shall not exceed the maximum compensation or fee provided for in the Agreement. Also, there is a requirement to disclose a familial relationship with someone to whom the public adjuster is referring business.
Maryland: Senate Bill 97, in the finance Committee, will have a hearing on 1-16-14. This Bill will prohibit a public adjuster from paying or offering to pay valuable consideration to an insured to induce the insured to use the public adjuster. Many other states have similar language in their laws. We will track the progress of this Bill in committee to watch for any further amendments.
New Jersey: There are two Bills currently before the legislature and one more in committee that affect public adjusters. Senate Bill 2472 proposes a 12.5% fee cap on all claims. AAPIA has been lobbying to educate the Senate on why that fee cap would be detrimental to consumers and public adjusters, and we are cautiously optimistic about the outcome. A companion Bill, the original Assembly Bill 3519, would impose a fee cap of 12.5% on catastrophic losses. We have supported this Bill as a more reasonable and consumer friendly alternative to Senate Bill 2472. There is another proposal in the works, still in committee, that would expand the prohibited acts section of the law, and impose a further ban on solicitation. We are closely monitoring that situation, and will keep you updated as it develops.
Illinois: Senator Haine sponsored Senate Bill 1411, which would impose a 10% fee cap on all claims. We met with the Senator and the Department of Insurance to educate them, as we did in New Jersey, about why such fee caps are bad for consumers and public adjusters. We also proposed amending the law to lower the waiting period to re-take the licensing exam upon failing. The legislative session ended without the Bill leaving committee, and we will continue to work with the DOI and the Senator in the next legislative session, if necessary.
Georgia: Many changes to the public adjuster law were proposed in House Bill 610, including, at one time, a fee cap, and we have worked with other adjuster associations to closely monitor and give feedback on those changes. We will continue to work with the other stakeholders if needed in the next legislative session.
Colorado: We worked closely with NAPIA and other stakeholders in Colorado regarding many changes to the public adjuster law, which took effect last week on 1-1-14. The Colorado legislature passed House Bill 13-1062 in March, which among other things:
Includes public adjusters as "insurance producers" so that the "Colorado Producer Licensing Model Act" fully applies to public adjusters;
Extends continuing education requirements to public adjusters-24 hours every 2 years;
Requires public adjusters to have financial responsibility as evidenced by a $20,000.00 surety bond or letter of credit;
Imposes a 10% fee cap on public adjusters after a catastrophic disaster, defined very narrowly;
Sets standards for the holding of funds of insureds by public adjusters;
Sets general ethical standards for the conduct of public adjusters including restrictions on having a financial interest in restoration or repair companies and making referrals on claims in which the public adjuster is adjusting;
Grants authority for further regulation of public adjuster contracts to comply with the new changes to the Act.
Provides for entity licensing instead of just individual licenses
House Bill 13-1225 passed in May, which imposed restrictions and rules on homeowners' insurance policies to benefit policyholders.
Delaware: Although there is no new legislation at this time, we understand that the current fee cap structure is a deterrent to the representation of consumers on small claims and we would like to see that fee cap scale amended so that public adjusters can help homeowners on those types of claims in the coming year.
Please go to our website, www.aapia.org/join
, and become a member today to help us continue to advocate and provide timely information for you. We need your support to continue our efforts to work for you.