March 3, 2022

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Fines on Public Adjuster Actions Would Double Under Bill Passed By Florida House

March 3, 2022

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The Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday approved its version of a bill that would increase penalties for unlicensed public adjusters and would improve the digital insurance application process.

House Bill 749, sponsored by Rep. Charles Clemons, R-Newberry, also aims to combat telemarketing calls by requiring licensed home and auto warranty agencies to identify their names and license numbers, and would require that companies allow magazine subscriptions to be easily canceled.

“This legislation will work to ensure consumers can cancel a subscription service the same way they signed up for it,” state CFO Jimmy Patronis, who worked for passage of the bill, said in a statement. “The bill also helps crack down on annoying telemarketing calls and on insurance fraud by increasing penalties on unlicensed public adjusters.”

A similar bill, SB 1292, has passed Senate committees and is on the calendar for a floor vote Friday.

The bills would require the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles system to display driver vehicle registration and insurance information, provide the driver with notice of any lapse in insurance coverage, and allow the driver to use the system to update policy information.

The measures also would allow an insurer, damaged by insurance fraud, to recover reasonable investigation and litigation expense, including attorney fees, if the insurer had reported the fraud to the state Division of Investigative and Forensic Services and the perpetrator was found guilty.

Public adjusters are currently subject to fines up to $10,000 per act if they are found to be engaging in a number of practices prohibited by law. The bills would raise the penalty to $20,000 per act.