“We have bad public adjusters swarming impacted areas, soliciting, and trying to make a quick buck,” Patronis said. “Not only do individuals need more time to get out of a public adjuster contract during a state of emergency, we need to reduce the percentage a public adjuster is entitled to immediately following a storm, ensuring their motives are aligned with helping Floridians get back on their feet.”
Patronis at a news conference in Cape Coral.
Patronis, whose Department of Financial Services regulates adjusters, did not say what he based the “bad adjusters” assertion on. But some Florida insurers have long complained about public adjusters working closely with contractors and promising homeowners free roofs after a windstorm, leading to exaggerated claims and litigation.
The CFO also did not provide details on his proposed schedule of fees for adjusters.
The call for an end to assignments of benefits, or AOBs, has already met with support from one insurance industry leader.
“We commend the CFO for calling attention to ongoing abuse of assignment-of-benefits tools by shady vendors whose goal is profit above all else,” said Michael Carlson, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, which represents a number of insurance carriers. “Eliminating post-loss assignments that transfer consumer rights to vendors is a good idea. We also believe that addressing exorbitant public adjuster fees is another good idea and a means to reduce predatory behavior by these licensees.”
Several Florida insurance executives in recent years have called for statutory changes that would allow insurance policies to bar AOB agreements, noting that thousands of lawsuits in recent years have resulted from disputed AOB claims. Data from CaseGlide, a litigation management software firm, shows that as much as 41% of litigated claims against Florida’s largest insurers resulted from assignees of benefits, usually from restoration contractors. In July, the AOB share of new litigations reached an 18-month high, the company said. That came despite 2019 Florida legislation that aimed to reduce AOB suits.