Volume 1 Number 42
October 18, 2004






A Pennsylvania man working in the Fort Myers area was arrested by investigators with the Department of Financial Services on a charge of operating as a public adjuster without a license.

Albert E. McBride III, 36, of Prospect Park, Pa., is the fifth unlicensed public adjuster arrested in hurricane-hit areas and the second arrest of an individual working for Young Adjustment Company, Inc. out of Blue Bell, Pa. His arrest followed an investigation and undercover operation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud and Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigations. The investigators worked closely with Nationwide Catastrophic Claims Adjusters.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services, urges residents to verify that the adjuster they are dealing with is licensed before signing any contract.

“Many storm victims are struggling to rebuild and eager to get their lives back together. We encourage them to know who they are dealing with so they are not victimized a second time,” said Gallagher, who served as Florida’s Insurance Commissioner when Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. He has set up a toll-free number for storm victims to call for any storm-related assistance. Floridians needing help with filing an insurance claim, getting an adjuster, verifying licensure, or settling a claim with their insurance company can call 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In August, Gallagher issued an emergency rule allowing claimants 14 days to back out of any contract with a public adjuster. He also ordered that public adjusters cannot require any up-front payment and capped public adjuster fees at 10 percent of any claim payment.

Investigators obtained an insurance claim settlement contract that McBride allegedly presented to a consumer, and the contract form had no percentage rate to be paid to the adjuster, information required by law to be included.

McBride was booked in to the Lee County Jail and, if convicted on the third-degree charge, faces up to five years in prison.

The skyline for October is Daytona Beach, photo courtesy of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.