Volume 2, No. 8 - December 2011

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

Title Agents: The 2012 Annual Title Administrative Surcharge is Coming Up

Subsection 624.501(27)(e)2, Florida Statutes, requires any title insurance agency licensed in Florida on January 1 of each year to remit an administrative surcharge of $200 to the Florida Department of Financial Services . Therefore, we are reminding all title agencies that the 2012 administrative surcharge due date is approaching. Any title insurance agency licensed in Florida on January 1, 2012, will be sent an emailed invoice a few days after that to the agency's email address on file with the Department. To ensure you receive the invoice and avoid failing to pay by the January 30, 2012 due date, please log in to the MyProfile account for your title agency and make sure the correct email address is on file. While doing so, we also recommend to do the same for your individual MyProfile account. Failure to pay the surcharge on or before January 30, 2012 may result in administrative action and/or a fine of $500, in addition to the original surcharge. To assure that your payment is properly credited, please return all invoices covered with your check.

Health Agents: CMS Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan Webinar

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Atlanta, cordially invite you to attend their Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) webinar on Monday, January 11, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. EST. This new program offers health insurance coverage to individuals with medical conditions that may have kept them from qualifying for health insurance in the past. Additional topics to be discussed during this webinar are surveillance and Medicare enrollment periods.

Why should you attend? This webinar will provide you with valuable information on who is eligible for PCIP and how you as an agent can benefit from the program, the do's and don'ts of agent/broker behavior, and information on Medicare enrollment periods.

Please register by emailing Mia.Robins@cms.hhs.gov before Tuesday, January 10th. If you have any additional questions, please contact Mia.Robins@cms.hhs.gov.

The webinar will begin at 1:00 p.m. EST. on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Please mark your calendars.

Please join CMS for a Connect Pro Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) Webinar Meeting:

To access the AUDIO portion of this conference.
Dial: 877-267-1577
Meeting ID: 9992 #

To join the Webinar meeting, go to: https://webinar.cms.hhs.gov/pcip/

If you have never attended a Connect Pro meeting before:
Test your connection: https://webinar.cms.hhs.gov/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Public Adjusters: Law Changes Effective January 1, 2012

Solicitation and Advertising

This part of the law outlines prohibitions regarding certain statements made in advertisements and solicitation pieces used by public adjusters. If you solicit business through newspapers, magazines, flyers and bulk mailers, you should become very familiar with these restrictions.

The following statements, made in any public adjuster's advertisement or solicitation, are considered deceptive or misleading:

  • A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim when the policyholder does not have covered damage to insured property.
  • A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim by offering monetary or other valuable inducement.
  • A statement or representation that invites an insured policyholder to submit a claim by stating that there is no risk to the policyholder by submitting such claim.
  • A statement or representation, or use of a logo or shield, that implies or could mistakenly be construed to imply that the solicitation was issued or distributed by a governmental agency or is sanctioned or endorsed by a governmental agency.
  • The term written advertisement includes only newspapers, magazines, flyers, and bulk mailers. The following disclaimer, which is not required to be printed on standard size business cards, must be added in bold print and capital letters in typeface no smaller than the typeface of the body of the text to all written advertisements by a public adjuster:

"THIS IS A SOLICITATION FOR BUSINESS. IF YOU HAVE HAD A CLAIM FOR AN INSURED PROPERTY LOSS OR DAMAGE AND YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE PAYMENT BY YOUR INSURER, YOU MAY DISREGARD THIS ADVERTISEMENT."

[See 626.854(8), Florida Statutes]

Written Estimates and Retention Period

The law states that a public adjuster must provide the claimant or insured a written estimate of the loss to assist them in the submission of a proof of loss or any other claim for payment of insurance proceeds. This estimate must also be available to the insurer or department should they request a copy. The written estimate must be maintained in the public adjuster's records for at least 5 years.

[See 626.854(12), Florida Statutes]

Access to Damaged Property

The law states that company adjusters, independent adjusters, attorneys, investigators, or others acting on behalf of the insurer must give the insured, claimant, public adjuster or legal representative of the insured at least 48 hours notice that they need access to the damaged property. The insured or claimant can waive this notice.

[See 626.854(14), Florida Statutes]

Prompt Notice of Claims

The law states that a public adjuster must provide prompt notice to an insurer for which the public adjuster is handling the claim for a claimant or insured. In addition to the notice, a public adjuster must include a copy of the contract; ensure the property is available for inspection and that the insurer has an opportunity to interview the insured directly about the loss. A public adjuster's actions must not obstruct or prevent an insurer or company adjuster or other person acting on behalf of the insurer from having reasonable access to the insured, claimant or the insured property. If a public adjuster is unavailable and it would delay the insurance company's timely inspection of the damaged property, the public adjuster or the insured must allow the insurer access to the property without the public adjuster or insured's participation.

[See 626.854(15)(a)(b)(c), Florida Statutes]

Public Adjuster Contract Requirements

There are several important statutory changes pertaining to contracts made by public adjusters:

  • Must state the type of claim, including an emergency claim, non-emergency claim or supplemental claim.
  • Requires the signatures of all named insureds.
  • If the signatures of all named insureds are not available, the public adjuster must submit an affidavit signed by the available named insureds attesting that they have authority to enter into the contract and settle all claim issues on behalf of the named insureds.
  • An unaltered copy of the contract must be remitted to the insurer within 30 days after execution. This means the contract provided to the insurer must also contain the agreed upon fee percentage.

[See 626.8796(2), Florida Statutes]

 

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