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Effective January 1, 2018, the public adjuster apprentice license (T31-20) will be eliminated. Any individual seeking to become an apprentice under a licensed public adjuster will need to be licensed as an all lines adjuster (6-20) and appointed as a public adjuster apprentice. Public adjuster apprentices will be required to be licensed and appointed for a minimum of six months before they are eligible to apply for a public adjuster license (3-20), a change from the previous requirement of a one year apprenticeship.
We recognize some individuals licensed under the existing laws will be in the middle of their apprenticeship when the new laws take effect. To make this change go as smoothly as possible for all affected individuals and parties, the Department will begin a transitional process in December.
The final day to apply for the current public adjuster apprentice license is December 13, 2017. After this date, anyone wishing to become a public adjuster apprentice will need to apply for an all lines adjuster license and, file an original $50,000 bond with the Department and then obtain a public adjuster apprentice appointment (31-20). A public adjuster apprentice appointment may not be effectuated for the all lines adjuster license unless there is an active bond associated with the license; the appointment will be cancelled if the licensee fails to maintain an active bond for 30 days,
All public adjuster apprentice licenses will automatically convert to all lines adjuster licenses by January 1, 2018. At the time of this conversion, the apprentices’ appointments will also be converted to the new public adjuster apprentice appointment type (31-20). These appointments will be valid from the date of appointment plus two years forward to the last day of the licensee’s birth month. For example: A licensee born in June is appointed in October 2017. The first renewal date for this appointment is June 30, 2020. Subsequent renewals will be due every two years.
After January 1, 2018, individuals who hold an all lines adjuster license with a public adjuster apprentice appointment will be eligible to apply for a public adjuster license once they have been actively licensed and continuously appointed for at least the previous six months and meet all other requirements of s, 626.865, F.S. Individuals in the middle of their apprenticeship when the new laws take effect will be able to apply for their public adjuster license once they have been actively licensed and continuously appointed for at least the previous six months.
The new law also changes the number of apprentices who can be supervised by an individual adjuster or firm. Beginning January 1, 2018, an appointing public adjusting firm may not employ more than four public adjuster apprentices, and a supervising public adjuster may not be responsible for more than one public adjuster apprentice. Each supervising public adjuster shall be accountable for the acts of the public adjuster apprentice which are related to transacting business as a public adjuster apprentice under s. 626.8651(2), F.S. If you are a supervising public adjuster or adjusting firm and you believe you will have more than the allowed number of apprentices as of January 1, 2018, please contact the Department at email@example.com so we can help you determine the best course of action. When contacting us, be sure to include the name and license number of all apprentices currently under supervision by you or employed by your firm.
The all lines adjuster license is perpetual with a valid appointment. Appointments of the all lines adjuster license must be renewed every two years for the license to remain valid. Licenses will cancel after 48 consecutive months without an appointment. A public adjuster apprentice appointment may also be renewed every two years, as there is no longer a limit on the time period to hold a public adjuster apprentice appointment type.
CFO Patronis Urges Congress to Address Costly Health Insurance Tax
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis sent a letter to Florida’s congressional delegation urging them to address the costly and ill-designed federal Health Insurance Tax (HIT) ahead of its impending implementation. The HIT requires insurance companies offering full coverage plans to pay an annual tax to help cover the cost of the federal exchange. While Congress delayed the HIT’s 2017 implementation, without additional action, it will become effective January 1, 2018. To cover the cost of paying the HIT, insurance companies are expected to significantly raise rates.
CFO Patronis said, “Congress has delayed the 2017 HIT implementation, lowering policyholders’ premiums by three percent, and saving the health care system an estimated $13.9 billion. However, a delay is but a temporary reprieve. Without immediate Congressional action, the tax will go into effect January 1, 2018, with a $22 billion first-year fiscal impact. With a 10-year projected impact of $267 billion, Florida simply cannot afford inaction. Florida alone faces a $1.7 billion overall increase in 2018 health care premiums. Florida’s state workforce covered by the state-sponsored health plan can expect a $188 annual increase for individual coverage, and families can expect to pay an additional $518 in 2018.”
Read a copy of the CFO’s letter here.
CFO Patronis’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team Nets Fly-By-Night Contractor in Fort Myers
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Oscar M. Palma made by the Department of Financial Services’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team. Palma, a Fort Myers contractor, was reported to authorities after allegedly making subpar roof repairs to an area apartment complex following Hurricane Irma. Upon launching an investigation, fraud detectives quickly learned that while Palma advertised himself as a licensed and insured contractor, he in fact held no workers’ compensation coverage and was not licensed as a contractor.
When accidents occur on job sites, workers’ compensation coverage protects the property owner and hired employees from being held responsible for paying medical and lost wage costs tied to potential on-the-job injuries. Therefore, Palma put his entire staff as well as his customers at risk by failing to carry proper insurance coverage.
CFO Patronis said, “When contractors fail to secure workers’ compensation coverage, a myriad of risks are presented, and we are sending a message that taking short cuts will not be tolerated. If any of Palma’s workers were to get injured, the property owners, who are already going through high-stress and costly times dealing with Hurricane Irma damages, or the employee themselves are forced to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses. Our efforts are focused on ensuring our residents, consumers and employees don’t fall victim to Irma twice, and these types of uninsured activities could cause just that.”
The Department’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Compliance received a tip October 12, 2017, alleging unlicensed, uninsured and careless roof work was being performed by Palma’s company. Investigators visited one of Palma’s current work sites and issued a stop work order upon confirming Palma failed to secure a workers’ compensation insurance and Palma’s confession to having no professional license.
He was arrested October 13, 2017, and transported to Lee County Jail. This case will be prosecuted by the Lee County Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit. If convicted, Palma could face up to five years in prison.
The Department’s anti-fraud strike team consists of three teams working in areas heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma including South Florida, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties; Southwest Florida, including Lee and Collier counties; and Central Florida, including Polk and Orange counties. To report suspected fraud, call the Department’s toll-free Fraud Tip Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.
Health Agents: Help On Demand
The 2017 Florida Statutes Are Available Online
The Florida Statutes can be viewed at Online Sunshine