GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES THE FIFTH ARREST
OF AN UNLICENSED PUBLIC ADJUSTER WORKING IN HURRICANE-DAMAGE AREA
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
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.