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  • April 3, 2012

    Governor Corbett Signs House Bill 424 into Law

    Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today signed into law the following bill:

    House Bill 424 (P.N. 3197) – This legislation amends the act of December 20, 1983 (P.L. 260, No. 72), referred to as the Public Adjuster Licensing Law, to provide new definitions, remove other definitions, update licensing requirements, provide for penalties and make other changes.

    To read the full text of this bill, visit the General Assembly’s website at www.legis.state.pa.us.

  • Source

    Act amending the act of December 20, 1983 (P.L.260, No.72), referred to as the Public Adjuster Licensing Law, further providing for definitions and for license; providing for application for public...

    Action(s)

    Referred to PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,Feb. 3, 2011
    Reported with request to re-refer to INSURANCE from PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,April 27, 2011
    Re-referred to INSURANCE,April 27, 2011
    Reported as amended from INSURANCE, May 24, 2011
    First consideration, May 24, 2011
    Laid on the table, May 24, 2011
    Removed from table, June 8, 2011
    Second consideration, with amendments, June 13, 2011
    Re-committed to APPROPRIATIONS,June 13, 2011
    (Remarks see House Journal Page 1209),June 13, 2011
    Re-reported as committed from APPROPRIATIONS, June 14, 2011
    Third consideration and final passage, June 15, 2011 (199-0)
    (Remarks see House Journal Page 1259),June 15, 2011
    In the Senate
    Referred to BANKING AND INSURANCE,June 17, 2011
    Reported as amended from BANKING AND INSURANCE, Oct. 26, 2011
    First consideration, Oct. 26, 2011
    Re-referred to APPROPRIATIONS,Nov. 1, 2011
    Re-reported as committed from APPROPRIATIONS, March 5, 2012
    Second consideration, March 7, 2012
    Amended on third consideration, March 12, 2012
    Third consideration and final passage, March 13, 2012 (48-0)
    In the House
    Referred to RULES,March 14, 2012
    Re-reported on concurrence from RULES, as committed, March 26, 2012
    House concurred in Senate amendments, March 26, 2012 (193-0)
    (Remarks see House Journal Page ),March 26, 2012
    Signed in House, March 26, 2012
     

  • Claims Magazine is providing the following free guidelines and regulations in order to help adjusting professionals stay abreast of each state’s unique property and casualty claim-handling requirements. Each guideline features an explanation of the act to be performed, compliance timeframes for each act, and hyperlinked references to each state's insurance code. The links were compiled by compiled by Lynch & Associates, www.northlaw.com. We hope you find them useful and informative. Please note that these guidelines were updated in 2010, but occassional changes in each state's code are to be expected. These guidelines should be used as a reference only, and do not supercede each state's published regulations.

    Just Looking for Each State's Deadline for Acknowledging Receipt of a Claim? Download PDF

    List of State Guidelines:

  • An Act amending the act of December 20, 1983 (P.L.260, No.72), referred to as the Public Adjuster Licensing Law, further providing for definitions and for license; providing for application for public...(READ MORE)

    Action(s)

    Referred to PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,Feb. 3, 2011
    Reported with request to re-refer to INSURANCE from PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,April 27, 2011
    Re-referred to INSURANCE,April 27, 2011
    Reported as amended from INSURANCE, May 24, 2011
    First consideration, May 24, 2011
    Laid on the table, May 24, 2011
    Removed from table, June 8, 2011
    Second consideration, with amendments, June 13, 2011
    Re-committed to APPROPRIATIONS,June 13, 2011
    (Remarks see House Journal Page 1209),June 13, 2011
    Re-reported as committed from APPROPRIATIONS, June 14, 2011
    Third consideration and final passage, June 15, 2011 (199-0)
    (Remarks see House Journal Page 1259),June 15, 2011
    In the Senate
    Referred to BANKING AND INSURANCE,June 17, 2011
    Reported as amended from BANKING AND INSURANCE, Oct. 26, 2011
    First consideration, Oct. 26, 2011
     

  • By Brian S. Goodman,  Esq., NAPIA Counsel, HODES, PESSIN & KATZ, P.A.
    Friday, October 7, 2011

    As the end of the year approaches, activity in the state legislatures is just heating up. In the coming term, many local legislators will be focusing on issues related to public adjusting. We know for a fact that bills are currently under consideration in Pennsylvania, and there is expected to be an added regulation addressed in Indiana focusing on the Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting. The Alabama legislature convenes in early 2012, and we are working diligently to th ensure that Alabama becomes the 45state to license public adjusters.

    If any NAPIA member hears of legislative activity in their particular state, please make us aware of this as soon as possible. Often, issues come up that touch on our profession, and the sooner we know about these the better.

    We are working hard with able counsel and lobbyists to protect the profession and to ensure the proper and ethical practice of public insurance adjusting. Gone are the days when public adjusters flew “under the radar;” we are now an accepted and respected player in the insurance industry and claims process. This gives all of us all the more reason to stay on top of legislative enactments and to insist that our craft is practiced in an ethical and proper manner.

    I will be talking about ethics and legislative issues in greater detail at the upcoming  First Party Claims Conference  in Providence, Rhode Island. We hope to see many of you there.

  • The American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters is busy getting the word out about how hiring a public insurance adjuster can add value to a policyholder’s insurance claim. AAPIA prides itself on being a professional organization representing public adjusters from all over the United States. AAPIA sponsors educational, social, and networking programs throughout the year.

    Recently, Gene Veno, the President of the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, was interviewed about the role of a public adjuster and the value a claims professional can add to a property damage claim when that professional is working on behalf of the policyholder.

    It is still not uncommon for me to hear from policyholders that they only became aware of the services a public adjuster can provide after they had a negative experience during an insurance claim and turned to a public adjuster for help. But the work of public adjusters is most valuable if people are aware of them early in the claims process. Individuals, families, condominium associations and businesses that suffer losses need to know that in most states they have the ability to hire their own adjuster to help navigate the claim process. As Veno explains in the interview, 44 states now have licensed public adjusters available to policyholders.

    One of the ways AAPIA is spreading the word is by doing radio and podcast interviews to educate the public. You may recognize Merlin Law Group’s very own Sean Shaw in the blogtalk radio show Legislative Wrap up with AAPIA's Gene Veno. AAPIA also interviewed Florida public adjuster, Dick Tutwiler, of Tutwiler & Associates.

    The AAPIA website provides many great resources for those who want to stay informed on issues relating to public adjusting.

    In prior posts, Chip Merlin has detailed some of the work AAPIA has been involved in during the last year.

    Take a listen to AAPIA’s The Value of Hiring a Public Adjuster:

  • BREAKING NEWS:

    Public Adjuster Licensing legislation~HB 424 Pennsylvania Third consideration and final passage, June 15, 2011 (199-0)

  • Chairman Nicolas A. Micozzie called the House Insurance Committee to order at 9:00 AM Tuesday May 24, 2011 to take action on two legislative Bills. The agenda had two Bills for member’s consideration. HB 561 and HB 424.

    HB 424 was amended to include the language in HB 561 and now becomes the Public Adjuster Licensing Bill. The Bill HB 424 now moves to the House of Representatives where it will be considered for final passage. Last year 2010, HB 2370 a similar bill for licensing public adjusters passed both the House Insurance Committee and House of Representatives, Unanimously!

    Chairman of The Democratic House Insurance Committee, Anthony Deluca also commented on the efforts of the Executive Director's in both House Chambers

    on how effective they were in working together with all stakeholders the past year to bring this legislation in final form to the House Insurance Committee Members.

    AAPIA wishes to thank Chairman Nicolas Micozzie and his staff, Chairman Deluca and his staff for considering this all important legislation that will regulate The Public Adjuster License in Pennsylvania and most importantly provide safeguards for homeowners /policyholders in Pennsylvania.

    Details of language and amendments for HB 424 can be found here:  HB 424 and Amendment

    AAPIA worked diligently with all stakeholders on behalf of our members and citizens of Pennsylvania to support passage of HB 424!

    I am pleased that all supporting amendments were supported by AAPIA! Now the Bill must be considered in The House Chamber and the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee and Senate Chamber before the Governor can enact this Bill into Law in The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    AAPIA is pleased with the Unanimous vote - we worked hard and will continue to work effectively to make sure this Bill becomes law in 2011-2012 legislative session.
     

  • Public Insurance Adjusters Are the People's 'Good Guys'
    By David Beasley, Sunshine State News

    Click here for full article.

  • The information we are receiving with less than 6 voting days remaining in the Senate Chamber is that House Bill 2370 and House Bill 1736 will not be considered in the Senate Banking & Insurance Company in the 193rd Legislative Session.  At the end of each two year legislative session the term Sine Die or in English derivation meaning last day the Senate or House can take up any legislation.

    With 6 days left and with some opposition to current Bills that passed 197-0 in The House Chamber in June 2010 it is most assured that both Bills will die in committee.  This means that a new Bill Sponsor and new language will have to be developed and it is the intent of AAPIA to again become a stakeholder in the process.

    We did our very best to bring about a favorable change to current licensure law for Public Adjusters but to no avail in the end.

    Thank you for your support and many positive remarks we received from our membership all across Pennsylvania on this one topic.

    Gene

  • The Senate has passed the Dodd-Frank financial services reform package that will have some impact on the insurance industry and add involvement by the federal government in the state-based insurance regulatory system.

    The 2,300-page bill, which passed the Senate by a 60 to 39 margin yesterday, aims to address regulatory weaknesses blamed for the 2008 financial crisis. It gives regulators broad authority to rein in banks, limit risk-taking by financial firms and supervise previously unregulated trading. It also makes it easier to liquidate large, financially interconnected institutions, and it creates a new consumer protection bureau to guard against lending abuses.

    The National Association of Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) hailed the passage of the bill as a "big win," after several provisions were included to modernize the surplus lines industry.

    Those changes would speed up and ease access to the surplus lines markets by consumers, and reduce administrative compliance issues by establishing that only the home state of the insurer can regulate multi-state transactions.

    "These surplus lines reforms represent a nearly decade-long industry effort spearheaded by NAPSLO to modernize and reform surplus lines regulation. With the legislation now approved by Congress, we look to the states to implement its provisions in the way Congress intends and bring about, on a nationwide basis, the anticipated efficiencies in surplus lines regulation and tax payment mechanisms the legislation promises," NAPSLO President Marshall Kath said.

    Ken A. Crerar, president of The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, echoed those statements, adding "passage of this bill is important not only for (agents) but also for their commercial clients… Now that multi-state surplus lines placements will be subject to regulatory oversight by a single state, a substantively streamlined process will be created for commercial consumers, regulators, insurers and brokers. This change will provide for a uniform approach to regulating the surplus lines market and once signed into law, will go a long way to addressing long-time marketplace problems."

    The bill also establishes a federal office of insurance (FIO), which will increase the federal government's role in addressing insurance-related issues.

    David A. Sampson, president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCIAA), said that the final version of the bill contained a number of changes that would lessen the impact of federal oversight of the state-regulated insurance system, but also said "deep concern(s)" remained over the impact of the legislation.

    "It is important to note that this is still only the midpoint for financial services reform. We have a long road ahead of us as we move into the rule development phase," Sampson said. "We look forward to working with regulators to preserve a strong and stable insurance marketplace to protect home, auto and business owners."

    Leigh Ann Pusey, president and CEO of the American Insurance Association (AIA), said the completed bill "largely recognizes that property and casualty insurers do not pose systemic risk," which she called "a meaningful acknowledgment for the many policyholders that rely upon our low-risk business model to provide them security in times of uncertainty."

    Pusey also said the bill "takes necessary steps to prevent insurers from being lumped into many of the new 'bank-focused' provisions. This, too, is a substantial recognition of the insurance business model."

    President Obama is expected to sign the bill.

  • Allied Insurance, based in Des Moines, Iowa, announced new changes to its commercial quoting process that it says will allow independent agents to write business insurance quicker and easier. Among the new features:

        * 25 percent - 45 percent of previously asked commercial application questions have been eliminated (depending on the specific business-owners-product program);
        * Elimination of up to six supplemental applications;
        * Addition of clearer questions to improve underwriting efficiency and turnaround times.

    Allied Insurance President W. Kim Austen said the "changes reflect direct feedback from our agents, so we felt compelled to take steps that make Allied easier to do business with."

    Allied Insurance has also recently announced significant product changes with expanded coverage options and is now offering coverage enhancement endorsements for a wide range of industries and products.

    With a new application process for premier business owners and business auto, independent agents will be better equipped to meet their clients' needs with superior service and coverage from Allied, the company said.

    Allied operates in 34 states through a network of independent agents with regional offices in Denver, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; Gainesville, Fla; and Sacramento, Calif. Allied has been a member of the Nationwide family of companies since 1998, and is responsible for Nationwide's independent agency system.

  • Regardless of the state you are licensed to work, you need to know that many new laws are being "proposed" all across the nation where the Public Insurance Adjuster is licensed. We mention this to our members so that they can be made aware of what is happening and what you can do to get involved with your profession. AAPIA is your advocate on a national level - we monitor all state legislatures and regulations as they appear and immediately review and comment on the efficacy and impact it may have on your profession.

  • House Bills 2370 and 1736 were unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee and are now on track to be adopted by the legislature if the Senate approves them in the Fall.

    Quick Summary by Issue:
    Fee Caps- none
    Right of rescission: 5 business days
        Ownership in Restoration Company: ok if disclosed to insured
        Continuing Education: 24 hours every 2 years
        Bond Amount: $20,000.00
        Solicitor’s License: removed under new Act; current solicitors become adjusters automatically
        Contract: more disclosures needed, and every disclosure must be initialed
        Estimates: must be cc’d to insured
        Revocation: minor violations added: certain violations of Act a third degree felony
        Restriction on Solicitation: not during loss

    AAPIA has been involved in negotiating some of these proposals, and a more detail on some of the changes in the law and a brief summary of those negotiations is below.

    2370:   During the last few months I have worked with the AAPIA leadership to fight for the interests of AAPIA members, the industry as a whole, and the consumer in Pennsylvania regarding proposals for drastic changes in the public adjuster licensing law. A summary of the initial draft of the Bill has been on the website for a few months. Since then there have been other proposals and amendments offered that will directly affect the way you do business.
        One of the more dramatic proposals coming after the original draft of the Bill was the imposition of a fee cap of 12.5 percent on all claims. On behalf of its members, AAPIA strongly opposed the imposition of fee caps, due to the detrimental effect on the consumer as well as the public adjusting industry. Both Gene Veno and I have written extensively on this issue and attended stakeholders meetings in Harrisburg and successfully presented our position to protect both the consumer and the livelihood of public adjusters in Pennsylvania.  As a result of our efforts---no fee caps in the Bill.  
    In order to win the battle on fee caps, we had to compromise on a few other issues, but as a whole, the Bill is something that is livable.  The original draft of the Bill contained a proposal for a fifteen day right of rescission for the insured, instead of the current four day period. Fifteen days is obviously too long and is harmful to the industry, since you have an ethical and legal duty to act quickly to appraise the damage to the insured’s property, and report to the insurance company. The fifteen day right of rescission would result in you being unable to get paid for work performed during that period. AAPIA fought against this provision, as well. In the end, in order to avoid fee caps, we accepted a five business day right of rescission.
        Another proposed addition to the law would have prohibited an adjuster from having an interest in or receiving profit from a restoration company or “similar business” entirely.  As you know, Pennsylvania law currently prohibits public adjusters from being involved in emergency repairs on an insured’s property, but does allow a public adjuster to receive a “referral fee” from someone engaged in the repair business, as long as such fee or compensation is disclosed to the insured in writing in the initial contract. Further, public adjusters may perform restoration work as long as it is after the claim has been completely resolved.  The new proposal would have done away with referral fees, and would also prohibit an adjuster or solicitor from working in the contracting, building and home repair business, at all, even if such work is unrelated to any insurance claim.  AAPIA argued that these restrictions are too broad, and suggested alternate language, from the NAIC Model Act, which was adopted into the Bill. The new law will allow an adjuster to have such an interest in a restoration or repair business, as long as such is fully disclosed to the insured, and keeps in place the prohibition on performing such work until after the claim is fully resolved.
        There is now a restriction on soliciting during the occurrence of a loss producing event.  This mirrors the language in the NAIC model Act, and does not affect your right to solicit in the twenty-four hour period after the event, or at any certain times of day or night. 
        There are some other changes with regard to licensing and the contract with the insured.   The separate license for a public adjuster solicitor has been eliminated, which does hurt some businesses, but the DOI would not compromise on that in order to allow Pennsylvania to be similar to and have reciprocity with other states.  To make that change more palatable, the people who are solicitors now are “grandfathered” in as adjusters, and we successfully asked for the bond amount to be lowered to $20,000.  Continuing education requirements will be 24 hours every two years, and copies of estimates will have to be sent to the insureds.  There are now more disclosures required in the contract, and those need to be initialed by the insured.  The new law will take effect 180 days after it passes. Your contract will have to be re-written entirely, and approved by the DOI, which I can help you with, after the Bill finally becomes law. 
    1736:   This bill, also included in 2370, addresses violations of the Act. Certain willful violations of the Act, such as fraud, material misrepresentation, misappropriation of funds, and payments to non-public adjusters such as agents, brokers or attorneys to induce the hiring of public adjusters will now be considered a third degree felony. We fought to keep out the overly harsh proposals, such as making any violation of the Act a felony, and are responsible for adding the word “willful” into the statutory language. Also, the maximum fine is now $5,000.00.    
    We will keep you updated on the status of the Bill, as it goes through its final stages in the Fall. In order to have these Bills become law, without fee caps, we need the Senate to pass the Bills.  You can help by contacting your State Senator and urging him or her to vote “yes” to pass these two Bills.

    Holly Soffer

  • The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously on June 29th, 2010 to approve new legislation that would strengthen the license of a Public Insurance Adjuster. AAPIA was one of the stakeholders at the table representing all Public Insurance Adjusters in The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Other interested parties at the table: MAPIA, NAPIA, Department of Insurance, Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania and both Executive Directors of the House Insurance Committees, Mr. Arthur McNulty, Esq., Executive Director of The House Democratic Committee and Ms Kathy McCormac, Executive Director of the Republican House Insurance Committee.

    Throughout the lengthy process Mr. McNulty insured all discussions were open and completely debated by all interested parties.

    The Bill HB 2370 now moves on to the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber for their review and consideration before the end of the 193rd Legislative Session November 30, 2010 or as known as Sine Die, the last day the legislature can take action on any Bill.

    The Bill calls for many favorable reforms that were needed since current law has not been updated in 27 years Circa 1983.

    AAPIA will report on the language as it appears in a separate report from our legal counsel Ms Holly Soffer that we will place soon on our web site
     

  • The last three months AAPIA has reported on draft legislation that will amend present Public Insurance Adjusters Licensing Act. AAPIA legal counsel Ms Holly Soffer along with AAPIA President have been working with the Executive Director of The House Insurance Committee Mr Arthur McNulty, Esq. along with many other interested parties to consider language that can be amended into HB 2370. The primse sponsor of the legislation is The Honorable Dom Costa from Allegheny County who has proposed changes to current law.

    AAPIA will continue to work with all parties to insure the licensing act for public adjusters conforms with the NAIC Model Act.

    Please remain in contact with AAPIA by visiting our web site on a daily basis for further updates.

    AAPIA will issue a detailed report on Tuesday afternoon June 22. immediately following the Public Committee Meeting that is being held by the House Insurance Committee Chairman Anthony Deluca and members of the House Insurance Committee. The meeting will be held in the Irvis Building at 9:30 AM Room 50.
     

  • MAPIA Board recently sent a letter to AAPIA asking us to inform the House Insurance Committee Legal Counsel of their position relative to HB 2370.

    The entire letter can be viewed under Pennslyvania Bill Tracking on our web site.

    MAPIA Board wrote, "There are certain and specific areas and language contained in this bill which will be opposed by our organization. At the same time, we do in fact recognize that there are other areas of change which Mapia can and will support".