Volume 6, No. 9 - September 2017

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

 

 

Public Adjusters: Declaration of Emergency for the Entire State of Florida

On September 4, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 17-235, declaring a state of emergency for the declaring a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida. A copy of the executive order can be found here: State of Florida, Office of the Governor, Executive Order Number 17-235 (Emergency Management - Hurricane Irma). As of today, the Governor has not lifted the state of emergency.

The Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Investigation reminds public adjuster licensees of the following important laws related to adjusting claims during a state of emergency declared by the Governor:

  • Section 626.854, Florida Statutes, provides specific direction regarding fees and the insured's right of cancellation of a public adjusting contract.
    • Subsection (7) provides that during any state of emergency as declared by the Governor and for one year after the date of loss, the insured or claimant has five business days after the date on which the contract is executed to cancel a contract for public adjusting services. The five day cancellation period applies to only those contracts related to damages from this recent heavy weather event.
    • Subparagraph (11)(b)1 states that a public adjuster may not charge, agree to, or accept any compensation, payment, commission, fee, or other thing of value in excess of ten percent of the amount of insurance claim payments made by the insurer for claims based on events that are the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor. This provision applies to claims made during the year after the declaration of emergency.
  • Section 626.8796, Florida Statutes, provides additional information regarding public adjusting contracts:
    • Subsection (2) states in part: "An unaltered copy of the executed contract must be remitted to the insurer within 30 days after execution."
      Note: The requirement to provide the insurer with an unaltered copy of the contract is also a requirement for non-emergency claims.

 

 

IRMA

 

citizens

 

Citizens - Agent Updates

Post-Irma Information:
Catastrophe Response Centers
Citizens has deployed our mobile Catastrophe Response Centers (CRCs) to impacted areas to provide in-person service to our policyholders who may be cut off from their usual means of communication. Citizens' CRC staff will:

  • Process first notices of loss (FNOL)
  • Make advance payments for additional living expenses, when warranted
  • Answer questions and offer general assistance

CRC locations and operating hours are:

Location

Hours of Operation

Walmart parking lot
11225 Tamiami Trail North
Naples, FL34110

Daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., curfew permitting

Kings Court Key
355 E. Palm Drive
Florida City, FL33034

Daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., curfew permitting

Murray Nelson Government Center
102050 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL33037

Daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., curfew permitting

Notes:

  • Refer to the Hurricane Irma webpage for more information and to verify CRC locations and hours of operation.
  • Policyholders unable to travel to an CRC can call Citizens' claims hotline 24/7 at 866.411.2742 or contact their agent.

Post-Irma Email to Policyholders
Citizens sent an email on September 15, 2017 to our policyholders with an email address on file, with the exception of those who have had their policy assumed and those without wind coverage. The email includes information about claims information, CRC locations and hours of operation and the risks associated with assignment of benefits (AOB)

 

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies (UPDATE: September 15, 2017)

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an advisory to FinCenfinancial institutions regarding the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) updated list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) deficiencies. These changes may affect U.S. financial institutions’ obligations and risk-based approaches regarding relevant jurisdictions. FinCEN’s advisory can be viewed at https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/advisory/2017-09-15/FinCEN%20FATF%20Advisory-FIN-2017-A005_0.pdf.

 

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an alert about scams related to the Equifax data breach.
FTC warns consumers to be wary of calls or emails purporting to be from Equifax agents. Legitimate Equifax representatives will not contact consumers to ask for verification of their information.

US-CERT encourages consumers to report fraudulent calls and emails to the FTC Complaint Assistant and to
refer to the FTC Alert and US-CERT Tips on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks and Preventing and Responding to Identity Theft for more information.

If you want to sign up for alerts from the National Cyber Awareness System visit https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas. They have four products in the National Cyber Awareness System offer a variety of information for users with varied technical expertise. Those with more technical interest can read the Alerts, Current Activity, or Bulletins. Users looking for more general-interest pieces can read the Tips.

 

NAIC

Identify Theft

Protect yourself in wake of breaches, hacks and cyber stalkers

Big data is big business. But it can also lead to bigger headaches when large-scale breaches expose personal information. Large companies including insurers and credit bureaus have been the victims of cyber thieves who accessed private customer information. Most recently, the Equifax breach of could affect 143 million Americans.

Identity theft occurs when a person uses your personal information to commit fraud or unlawful activity. Using your social security number or date of birth, someone may open new credit card or bank account in your name, and even take out a loan using your personal information. Affected consumers can help protect themselves with identity theft insurance—or by using safeguards provided by the impacted company. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers these consumer protection tips.

What's in your wallet?

If your purse or wallet is stolen, your driver's license could easily be sold to someone who resembles you. Once a person has your driver's license it is easy to obtain other forms of identification in your name. Your social security number is the most important piece of information a bank needs when extending credit or opening an account. Social security numbers are also used to obtain medical care, file a fraudulent tax return, commit crimes or steal your social security benefits.

What to do if you think your information has been compromised

Stay calm, but monitor your personal financial information closely. You should look out for suspicious account activity or anyone asking to collect sensitive information. This includes usernames, passwords and credit card information (referred to as phishing). It is important to take action immediately to protect yourself. 

To be safe, freeze your credit with the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) if you suspect your identity has been compromised. This allows you to restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Be sure to protect the information of your family as well – including children and elderly parents. For more information about a credit freeze, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Information Credit Freeze FAQs. Contact your bank or credit card company if you notice suspicious activity on your account. You may ask them to put a security block on your account or preemptively request a new credit or debit card. You can also place a fraud alert on your accounts.

Read more at the NAIC website>>

online sunshineThe 2017 Florida Statutes Are Available Online

The Florida Statutes can be viewed at Online Sunshine