Few disagree with my prediction that if public adjusters succeed in overturning caps on their contingency fee’s there will be more of them with more incentive to file even more claims, justified or not.
Skeptics should read my recent blog on how a pending legal challenge could give wings to the moral hazard already proven to exist with fee limits in place. You’ll learn about PA Alberto Alvarez (44) whose arrest affidavit is reminiscent of Jorge Espinosa and the famous “Case of the Yellow Hammer”. Like Espinosa, Alvarez also used hammer’s (sometimes crow bars) on tile floors, to increase his contingency fee or, perhaps, even to intimidate a few homeowners– not quite as subtle, Espinosa’s intimidator of preference was a handgun!
Don’t believe me…“believe your own eyes” by reading Alvarez’s arrest affidavit.
Also, you can “believe your own ears” by listening to a recorded auto-dial solicitation from one Florida public adjuster to mobile phones all over Florida. Perhaps not illegal per se, it’s still a frightening foreshadow of what could come and for those who remain on the line, a good example of how PA’s run down the public image of “big insurance companies” to gain clients.
CAUTION: Take your blood pressure medicine first–many have heard what they believe is a veiled attempt to get policyholders to file unnecessary or inflated claims. Here’s the link:
Now, believe your eyes again by reading the ad emailed to a DFS list of 50,000 licensed insurance professionals (agents) about the “Public Adjuster Hotline”. This was sent out at least twice last year, most recently around Christmas and describes a “network” of over “300+ public adjusters”.
Imagine if thousands of Florida PA’s, (according to the OPPAGA study more than any other state, including New York, Texas and California combined), were doing the same thing, or worse, were on television, the internet & billboards along with a dozen or more plaintiff attorney firms.
Get the ugly picture? It’s a collage framed with mischaracterizations about “greedy” insurer’s and their alleged abusive claim practices. (See NOTE#1 below)
While “some” PA’s, like Alvarez and Espinosa, appear intent on destroying their own image, all PA’s, it appears to me, are intent on destroying the image of insurance companies.
I understand this battle has always been about public image, but…
… with no requirement to charge a reasonable hourly fee (like Louisiana) and the potential of no limit on their contingency fee percentage (like New Jersey), this public image battle can easily become a war…
…one the industry has proven time and again it cannot win!
NOTE #1: In addition to general bad mouthing of insurer’s, PA websites often reference trial lawyer studies like: “The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America” or “Tricks of the Trade–How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse & Refuse”.
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