A proposed bill in the Oklahoma state legislature would have a significant impact on public adjuster services — and countless disaster victims — if passed.
According to a Feb. 23 Oklahoma City News 9 article, Senate Bill 439 has raised concerns over its changes to the rules for public adjusters when they fight insurance companies.
What is a public adjuster?
Public adjusters typically assist homeowners with getting a fair amount awarded in their insurance claims, especially for claims filed due to fire damage, flood damage and wind damage. In Oklahoma, a state where tornadoes and other natural disasters are relatively commonplace, public adjuster services are especially vital.
What Senate Bill 439 aims to change is the timeline of when a homeowner can seek out the help a public adjuster. If passed, the bill would prevent homeowners from hiring a public adjuster until after the final claim settlement is made — by which point it’s often too late for any changes to be made.
And for the adjusters themselves, this bill would institute extreme fee caps, forcing them to charge fees that are much lower than the rates they charge now for their services, News 9 reports. When many public adjusters are either self-employed or part of a small firm, these fee caps would be financially devastating.
“It would eliminate anybody being able to do the job at all,” Regional Manager for Brown O’Haver Adjusters Alice Young said. “It would be practically impossible.”
According to KFOR 4, Senate Bill 439 has passed the committee stage, and its final terms are being worked out with the help of insurance companies. Young says it’s a good sign that the bill’s authors are willing to rework its language if needed — but will it be enough to protect the Oklahoma homeowners and public adjusters?
What are your thoughts on the potential implications that Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 439 could have on the insurance claims process if passed? Share with us by leaving a comment below. Helpful research also found here.