Appeals court rules law regulating insurance adjusters is unconstitutional
The First District Court of Appeal has ruled that a state law forcing public adjusters to wait 48 hours before contacting potential insurance claimants after a catastrophic event is unconsitutional. The Florida legislature passed the law based on recommendations made by a task force on the state-run Citizens Property Insurance in 2007. The task force was examining fall out from claims made after the 2004-2005 hurricane season and raised concerns that some public adjusters were taking advantage of people traumatized by disaster. But public adjuster Fred Kortum argued the law violated his freedom of speech. And in court, he argued that the first 48 hours after a claim-inducing event are critical because policy holders might do things that limit their potential for claims, such as failing to preserve evidence and find damaged property, or overspending on restoration. Indeed, a 2010 report from Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability supports that argument. An examination of Citizens Property Insurance claims showed that when public adjusters were involved, payouts for damages were higher than when adjusters weren't involved.