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Hurricane Irma: Emergency Adjusters

By Jonathan D. Mutch

Insurers and adjusting firms are adding additional human resources in advance of Hurricane Irma, an important move given the demands already placed on the industry by the unprecedented flooding in the Houston area.

Florida normally requires adjusters working in-state to hold a Florida-issued license.  It allows unlicensed “emergency adjusters” when the State determines that an emergency situation exists, as it has in advance of Irma. 

Initial Appointment of Emergency Adjusters

An insurer, independent adjuster, independent adjusting firm, or general lines agent (the “appointing entity”) may hire or retain a non-licensed natural person to adjust catastrophe losses (only) in Florida if the appointing entity “determines” that the emergency adjuster is:

  • Qualified to adjust claims under the policies issued by the carrier;
  • Trained in and able to operate claims adjusting software used by the appointing entity;

The appointing entity must provide the emergency adjuster with written “proof of authority to represent the insurer.” The emergency adjuster must, upon demand, provide that proof along with a photo ID to an insured or insured’s representative.

Florida Administrative Code section 69B-220.001 details the requirements for appointing an emergency adjuster – and for applying for an emergency adjuster license, summarized below.

Emergency Adjuster License Application – Seven Calendar Days After Adjusting Begins

Florida requires filing an “emergency adjuster application” for any non-licensed, emergency adjusters within seven calendar days after catastrophe adjustment begins:

The appointing entity completes the emergency license application, and must do so online. By filing the application, the appointing entity “assumes responsibility for” and must “represent” that it has made “due diligence inquiries” that the applicant is both qualified to adjust claims and trained and able to operate claims software (as above) and also that the emergency adjuster is “of good and honest character.”  The appointing entity undertakes an “affirmative duty” to “provide continuing and significant supervision” of the emergency adjuster after emergency licensure.  The Florida emergency adjuster application requires inputting a Social Security number – effectively requiring United States citizenship. 

An overview of the Florida emergency adjuster license process is available at this link.  Detailed, step-by-step instructions for the application process are available at this link

Ethical Duties Continue to Apply

Florida’s comprehensive adjuster ethics requirements apply to emergency adjusters.  The contents of those requirements are found at Florida Administrative Code 69B-220.201

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