A policyholder is entitled to hire a public adjuster to represent their interests after a natural disaster causes property damage.
A public adjuster should be certified, licensed, bonded, and adequately trained to serve as your exclusive representative for the insurance claim.
Unfortunately, many scams exist to cheat responsible insurance policyholders out of their money. One such tactic is the unauthorized practice of public adjusting (UPPA), a serious problem that harms insurance consumers.
What Is Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA)?
The unauthorized practice of public adjusting is what it sounds like – it occurs when someone other than a licensed claims adjuster works with a consumer to settle a property insurance claim.
UPPA often includes fraud, with one or more parties taking advantage of the insured when they are vulnerable. In fact, the Texas House passed an expanded prohibition against UPPA in a 2019 legislative session via HB2103. The law went into effect on September 1, 2019.
Official public adjuster licensing is accepted in almost every state and even recognized in the Model Legislation of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
This prevents any conflict of interest, which can occur when an adjuster tries to negotiate on behalf of both sides. Adjusters must pick a side and advocate for that side only.
Unlicensed or unauthorized contractors and claims adjusters pretend to have the authority to handle a property claim, but they do not.
Typical actors who attempt to practice unlicensed adjusting include accountants, restoration companies, contractors, roofers, and other tradesmen.
There are higher rates of UPPA in places prone to frequent natural disasters, such as Texas and Louisiana.
If a contractor is not a licensed public adjuster, he or she cannot:
Investigate, appraise, evaluate, or advocate for the claimant in adjusting a claim
Prepare the insurance claim for a claimant
Negotiate the claim with the insurer on the claimant’s behalf
Review and/or advise the claimant about the terms of their policy coverage
Advertise that they can serve as a claims adjuster
Insurance Recovery Lawyers
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