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Know the Law when Hiring a Public Adjuster

Hiring a Public Adjuster

In 2016 Oklahoma passed a bill that outlined requirements on public adjusters in the state to protect both the consumer and the public adjuster. When you are choosing a public adjuster, you should be aware of the state requirements.

The following are a few of the lesser known rules that you should be aware to ensure you are hiring a reputable public adjuster that is following the laws of state.

“A public adjuster is obligated under his or her license to serve with objectivity and complete loyalty to the interest of his or her client alone; and to render to the insured such information, counsel and service as within the knowledge, understanding and opinion in good faith of the licensee will best serve the insured’s insurance claim needs and interest.”

This means that the public adjuster should not require you to hire anyone contractor or be the contractor themselves. The public adjuster should be the advocate for the insured and not for a construction or roofing company handling the claim. The public adjuster should also not represent the insurance company on the claim.

“A public adjuster shall not solicit or attempt to solicit an insured during the progress of a loss-producing occurrence.”

This one is tricky because restoration companies are allowed to be out at the time that a loss is ongoing. Either way, if a public adjuster solicits while the loss is still occurring, they are not following the law and you should look for a different public adjuster to handle your claim. 

“A public adjuster shall not acquire any interest in salvage of property subject to the contract with the insured unless the public adjuster obtains written permission from the insured after settlement of the claim with the insurer.”

If the public adjuster is trying to keep your damaged items or work with a restoration company that is trying to keep the items without your approval this is against the law.

“A public adjuster shall not enter into a contract or accept a power of attorney that vests in the public adjuster the effective authority to choose the persons who shall perform repair work.”

This is an important one. Never sign an “Assignment of Benefits” (AOB) with the public adjuster or a contractor as it takes away your rights to your claim and gives it to the person you assigned the benefits to.

“A public adjuster may not agree to any loss settlement without the insured’s knowledge and consent.”

This should be clearly stated in the contract.

“On a percentage fee contract, a public adjuster may not require, demand or accept any fee, retainer, compensation, deposit or other thing of value prior to payment of any claim proceeds, whether such payment is partial in nature or payment in full.”

A public adjuster should never ask for upfront money for their services.

I was fortunate to be involved in the process of this statute being written into law. Because of that I am intimately aware of the rules. At Brown O’Haver our contract reflects the law and our claims handling follows the guidelines.

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