inspector1When looking for a public adjuster (PA) to handle your damage claim, there can be many unknowns as well as several misconceptions. Those that have endured a loss of property may wonder whether they are receiving service that is in line with the standards for the industry. There is a code of ethics that every type of public adjuster must follow, and finding an adjuster  who adheres to as many of these points as possible can mean that your claim gets settled in a proper and timely manner.

Honesty and Integrity

No public adjuster is permitted to obtain any statements from a witness or claimant that is dealing with the emotional, physical or mental aftermath of a loss. The same is true for any elderly clients whom the adjuster deals with. The adjuster must ensure that elderly clients are of good memory and are not being affected by cognitive illness prior to working with them, as these can impair a client’s ability to make decisions.

Where witnesses are concerned, a Florida PA can interview any witness without having first obtained the consent of opposing parties or counsel. However, the PA cannot make any suggestions to witnesses with the intention to suppress or deviate from the truth. And where a client wishes to seek legal advice, an adjuster cannot suggest that they reconsider.

Credentials for Other Professionals

A PA will have to be able to provide credentials for the professionals he deals with. All of these professionals, where applicable, must be licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  In addition, the adjuster must report any suspected conduct by insurance company representatives that they feel is a violation of the Department of Insurance’s rule or order or the Insurance Code.

Ethical Constraints

In addition to the many rules that Florida PAs must follow, there are also several ethical constraints by which they are bound. These involve  client representation as well as the monitoring of their own conduct.

The client has veto power where repair professionals are concerned. This means that before any proposals or bids from engineers, contractors and similar individuals is used by the adjuster to estimate a loss, the client must be notified of their locations and names so that they can make a decision.

The client has control where the business relationship with a PA is concerned; they have three days to cancel any contract with a PA. Should a cancellation occur, it is done without obligation or penalty on the part of the client.

No person who is representing an insurance company can be prevented from having reasonable access to a claimant or insured party whose loss is the subject of a claim.

When you have suffered a loss, there is enough to deal with without the worry that your adjuster may not be doing things according to the Code of Ethics. Ensuring the adjuster you choose will adhere to this Code before you hire them is one way to reduce the stress during a loss.

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Leonard Pisciotto, Jr. is the Owner of Equitable Public Adjusters & Appraisers, and Licensed as a Public Adjuster by the State of Florida.He has over 10 years of handling claims for one of the largest insurance companies in Florida, has Developed and managed a claims office of 20 Claim Adjusters.In addition, Mr. Pisciotto, Jr. is a Claims law graduate and Stetson University graduate.