If you are a Tampa area homeowner, you need to be aware of the ongoing public adjuster problem happening in the state. The role of these individuals is to work on behalf of policyholders to negotiate insurance claims. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in fraudulent and unethical practices, leading to higher insurance premiums, lengthy legal battles, and even financial ruin for unsuspecting homeowners.
Florida homeowners must understand the potential risks associated with hiring a public adjuster and take steps to protect themselves and their properties.
Why Hiring a Public Adjuster Can Cause Big Problems
Throughout the state, there is an ongoing problem with public adjusters in the roofing industry and their impact on insurance claims. Some of the risks Tampa homeowners face when entering into this working relationship are as follows:
- Unnecessary or Inflated Claims
- Deceptive Business Practices
- Shady Roofing Partnerships
Unnecessary or Inflated Claims
One of the biggest problems with public adjusters in the Tampa area is that they often encourage policyholders to file unnecessary or inflated claims. This can not only result in higher payouts for policyholders but also drive up insurance costs for everyone in the state.
In some cases, they have even been known to cause damage to a property to generate an insurance claim and/or pad profits, for example by lifting shingles. This is particularly problematic and directly violates the terms of most insurance policies. If you suspect damage to your roof, always call your insurance company first to ensure you’re working with a trusted partner.
Deceptive Business Practices
Many public adjusters in Tampa engage in deceptive business practices, such as offering to waive or discount their fees in exchange for the policyholder signing away the exclusive right to handle the claim. This can lead to conflicts of interest and often prevents policyholders from seeking out other options in the event the contractor doesn’t perform duties as expected. When unscrupulous contractors pad the costs and insurance companies won’t pay the inflated bill, the contractor can sue “on your behalf,” engaging in lengthy litigation processes and unprotected homes.
Shady Roofing Partnerships
Partnerships between public adjusters and roofing contractors can put homeowners at a high risk of getting caught in an insurance fraud scam. These partnerships often result in inflated repair or replacement costs and an increased likelihood of filing a fraudulent claim, as one party causes damage to the property and the other pads the cost to repair it. This can not only lead to higher insurance premiums statewide but also can lead to insurance fraud litigation. Tampa homeowners should always contact their insurance companies to avoid being scammed by seemingly advantageous partnerships that only leave them vulnerable.
How Is Florida Addressing the Public Adjuster Problem?
In response to these problems, Florida has implemented stricter regulations for public adjusters, including licensing requirements, training, and continuing education requirements, as well as restrictions on certain business practices. The state also has a hotline where policyholders can report suspected fraud or unethical behavior.
It’s important for policyholders to be aware of their consumer rights and to do their due diligence to spot signs of fraud before it happens. Research credentials, check references, and be wary of any red flags, such as promises of guaranteed payouts or pressure to sign an exclusive contract. By working with a reputable and ethical Tampa company, policyholders can protect their interests and ensure a fair and timely settlement of their insurance claims.