main menu page title feature menus content footer
My Florida C F O

CFO's Initiatives

Stay Connected

Follow the
Department of
Financial Services

Sign up for the CFO's
weekly newsletter!

Press Release

News   RSS RSS   Press Office   Archive

Gallagher Moves to Prevent Public Adjusters from Price Gouging Hurricane Katrina Victims

8/30/2005

CONTACT: Bob Lotane
(850) 413-2842    
      
TALLAHASSEE – Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher today issued an emergency rule to prevent the victims of Hurricane Katrina from becoming the victims of price gouging by public insurance adjusters.  In addition to limiting fees, the rule contains other consumer protections for victims who may consider contracting with public adjusters. 
 
Gallagher found the need to impose the rules after Hurricane Charley hit in August 2004 and there were reports of adjusters demanding fees of up to 25 percent. 
 
"Floridians upset after seeing their property damaged by Hurricane Katrina can be particularly vulnerable to signing contracts that are unfair and possibly unnecessary," said Gallagher.  "They need to strongly consider whether they need the assistance of a public adjuster, as any fees will inevitably come out of their claim settlement." 
 
The new rule caps adjuster fees at 10 percent of the claim payment; gives the consumer 14 days to cancel a contract made with a public adjuster without penalty, and prohibits public adjusters from demanding any up-front payments or compensation prior to final settlement of the claim. 
 
Gallagher also warned Floridians to make sure they are dealing with a licensed public adjuster.  The Division of Insurance Fraud arrested seven individuals last year for acting as public adjusters without a license.  To check on the license status of an adjuster agent or company, consumers should visit www.fldfs.com, and click on Verify Before You Buy, or call the Department of Financial Services' Helpline at 1-800-342-2762.
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.