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Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 6:38 am:   

In most if not all states, an adjuster cannot be licensed as both an adjuster and a public adjuster simultaneously. I agree with John, that if an adjuster is doing their job correctly, there would be no need for a public adjuster. Thus an adjuster trying to wear both hats simultaneously would be guilty of not fulfilling at least one role properly.

While there are some states which do not require adjusters to be licensed, many of those same states do have license requirements for public adjusters. Generally speaking, the licensing requirements for public adjusters is more strenuous than for adjusters, and in fact many require the posting of a bond. While I have not researched the licensing requirements for public adjusters in the various states, I'm sure Bill Cook could shed some light on this subject.

The adjuster who switched sides to the PA side at the origin of this thread, may well discover that he has performed services without having obtained the requiste licensing from the applicable state, and may well have greater problems than just a legal conflict with the original employer-carrier and/or employer-vendor.
John McMennamy
Posted on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 6:13 am:   

I might be out of line,but. If someone was adjusting on an assignment and found a way to work as a P.A. for the people they represented as an adjuster, then that adjuster wasn't doing their job in the first place.
The way I see it a P.A. is representing an insured to make sure they are paid what is owed from the carrier. An adjuster is representing both the carrier and the insured to make sure the insured is paid what is owed, no more and no less.
The carrier is provides a Contract of Insurance agreed to by the insured agaist certain perils and under guide lines set forth in the contract.
If you owe it , pay it up front. Don't try to short change the insured or carrier by setting up a situation to represent the insured after the claim.
In my mind you can not work both sides of the fence if you did your job properly in the first place.
Just my oppionion.
Johnny Mac
Posted on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 5:46 am:   

I must confess, "I" am not the one that is breaking any contracts. However, I do know one who worked at a project for major Vendor, signed that he would not work at same time with or for others, and claiments, also that would not work for claimants after leaving said project. Worked out a deal with vendor and worked as an adversrial position for claimants for 4 months, then rec'd cease and desist letter.
So I guess my question is, What contractual obligations does he have now, or better yet, What can of worms has been opened and what does he do?
James Guerrero
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 10:10 pm:   

I have already contributed to this topic, but I could not resist one more contribution, Ridgewalker. You see, this topic is interesting because greed is really at the basis of it. To work both sides of the fence at the same time "can" be done, as it has just been pointed out in Oregon, but can not be done in Florida. In South Carolina, there aren't even any public adjusters but there are attorneys. As catastrophe adjusters, especially in the big events, we see the public adjuster making his "whatever" percentage that is a lot higher than what we make on a per claim basis. We can make money, too, but in a different way. Our concupiscent urge is to switch because we perceive that he makes more money, thereby putting aside our original motivations. This must have been the reason why the Insurance Department passed the regulations that an adjuster must be either an adjuster or a public adjuster in the State of Florida. Now, a catastrophe adjuster, I know, is mainly a public servant because insurance is a social responsibilty (this is not to say that a public adjuster is not one also). He/she serves the devastated people in an event. He represents the insurance company on its promises made. He, in fact, is the very first and best representative in a catastrophe. What a catastrophe adjuster has going for him is responsibility. His name is made on that, his reputation, his service, his professionalism. What higher values can a catastrophe adjuster achieve? No amount of money can buy that.
William S. Cook (Wscook)
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 9:00 am:   

I could not wish for a better advocate than the illusive Ghost seeking my contributions. I think Oregon allows a licensed adjuster to act in either capacity as long as it is not the same project. But that logic would not serve a cat adjuster as he is never established in one location. Ridgewalker will have lasting problems as long as he walks the ridge and solicits work from both sides. It requires a fixed mindset to be a contentious arbiter of insurer's resources or for the insured's maximum entitlements. It is a difficult task to do while sitting on the fence. My experience has been that switching hats is not easily done if done properly. One will not find many good attorneys that can do defense work one day and plaintiff work the next day. Many of the seasoned and respected insurer oriented adjusters contributing to this board have achieved that status by striving to be better at the chosen field rather than jump the fence for a short snack of green grass. I am sure that had their focus been as advocates for the policyholder they would be good adjusters in that capacity. Many state laws fail to provide a capacity for the described fence jumping activities and do have measures to prevent folks from working in that gray zone. In Florida I have a statutory duty as a licensed adjuster to report such violations to the DOI, which I do if I become aware of the transgression. I hope to make problems for the green grass snatchers to make them meet the same standards and duties of a public adjuster that I have met. The adjuster/vendor contracts are similar to insurance policies that they are contracts of adhesion. Vendors wrote the contracts and the adjusters can accept them or go elsewhere if they are unhappy with the terms of the contract. I would suggest that Mr. Ridgewalker review applicable state statutes and then review his past and present contracts, then apply whatever moral or ethical standards that fit with his personal outlook.
Good luck
William S. Cook
Licensed Public Adjuster in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, California and soon to be New York
Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 12:19 am:   

Or, (to play the Devil's Advocate), go on ahead and burn the candle at both ends. This way you can try and make a lot of money for a short time. Perhaps our pal William S. Cook, P.A. can give some helpful pointers on this. Just remember tho, a candle lit at both ends burns out twice as fast.
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 9:29 pm:   

As always, Jim just hit the nail on the head.
James Guerrero
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 9:22 pm:   

Contract law applies here. Breaches of contract also happen when one or two parties do not fullfill its part of the bargain. When one adjuster makes a deal with an independent or an insurance company, well, just like any thing else, there better be a clear understanding of what is expected among both parties, or lawyers and suits start flying, or the two parties just go their separate ways. Usually, the two parties just go their separate ways and let the economy of supply and demand take its course. If an adjuster believes that the loss of a client is in jeopardy in favor of another, well let him decide his case. If an adjuster believes he can keep one client and another along side by agreements made with both in the open, then so be it. The above is speaking to an adjuster who represents insurance companies only. With regard to the adjuster who also wants to be a public adjuster at the same time, in Florida, it can not be done. So, that issue probably varies from state to state.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 8:58 pm:   

Without even thinking about the legal issues here, it would seem to me that if you worked for a carrier through a vendor, and then left the employ of the vendor/carrier, and then turned around and approached or attempted to represent any of the insureds who you had previously worked with, met, talked to or adjusted as a cat adjuster, then you would be engaging in an unethical breach of the highest order. I would certainly hope that state insurance commissioner's laws and administrative regulations would prohibit such an action, but if they don't they should.

If you want to work the 'other side' go out and start from scratch without trying to pick up your 'leads' and 'prospects' from your vendor and carrier's list of insureds with damage.

Information gleaned from first working files for a carrier, is in fact confidential, privileged, and the property of the insurance carrier. For an adjuster to use such confidential information for any purpose other than what was originally intended (i.e., to adjust the claim in behalf of the vendor and carrier) would be a breach of confidentiality and fradulent use of a privileged 'work product' which rightfully belongs solely to the carrier. To do or even to suggest otherwise, would represent not only a moral and ethical lapse, but to me, an incredible act of sheer stupidity.
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 6:19 pm:   

Dear Ridge:

What does your employment contract say concerning other employment. Does it have a non-disclosure agreement? Are you willing to burn a bridge? Do you even have a contract? On the surface, I would be concerned about any non-disclosure clauses that might be in effect. We need a little more information before we can give an informed opinion.
Russ Doe
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 9:06 am:   

Most Adjuster/Vendor Contracts have a clause that prohibits working for or against a Carrier that the Adjuster handled claims for during a certain event! You Shouldn't adjust claims for a Carrier
and turn around and work for a P.A. against the same Carrier. Not only would that that be Improper, it may be a definite conflict of interest that could cost you your state license. Even though your contract is with an Adjusting firm and not with the Carrier, you're obligation for that storm is still the same! If another storm hits and you want to work for a P.A. you have no contract in place to keep you from doing just that. My Opinion only, AJ may have a more law based information. You could go to your states insurance web site and see what you legally are bound to do. Morally, you should always choose what's best for your future as an Adjuster. Burning bridges is not a good thing. You may run out of bridges!! Have a great day!!! and PLEASE work safe.
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 7:10 am:   

what exactly is "adjusters" contractual obligation when working for a vendor? But primarily, what is "adjusters" obligation after leaving Vendor, and then working as a P.A.
This is occurring in New Mexico, and now Vendor is mad at adjuster and has advised him to stop.
what exactly can they do to him? I am thinking about going to work for some of the people who have claims and wish to obtain some clients,etc, so would I be o.k. in doing that?

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