As of July 1, 2020, the State of Wisconsin will require non-resident public adjusters to register with the state. As part of the registration, public adjusters will need to pass a licensing test.  Wisconsin residents who are public adjusters may choose to register but they are not obligated to do so.  If Wisconsin residents do choose to register, they will also have to pass the licensing test.

New regulations create new questions, risks, and new opportunities. To that end, Murdock Law will cover some of the common questions in this post.

1.     What Is a Public Adjuster?

A public adjuster is a professional claims representative who advocates for a policyholder in documenting, calculating, and recovering on their insurance claim.  Public adjusters are common in many states.  Wisconsin, however, is one of a handful of states that do not currently license public adjusters. Wisconsin appears to be headed in the direction of requiring licensing of public adjusters.

2.     How Does A Public Adjuster Differ from An Attorney?

Insurance attorneys and Public adjusters serve different roles for their clients. Insurance Lawyers structure the claim from the start in the way that they want to see the claim end. For example, attorneys pay attention to the legal issues that may arise later and look at claims from a litigation standpoint. Attorneys advocate for how the law should be applied to the insurance policy and why the law requires the amount the insured is seeking to be paid by the insurance attorneys advocate for policyholders by demonstrating the legal reasons claims should be paid or the types of damages that would be covered by an insured’s policy.

Attorneys, however, are not experts in valuing the amount of the loss. We rely on outside experts such as public adjusters and contractors to determine the amount of the loss. Typically, public adjusters can negotiate with insurance companies about the value of claims.  Attorneys frequently work with public adjusters to ensure that insureds receive the compensation that they are entitled to under their policy.

3.     How Does the New Regulations Affect Policyholders?

Wisconsin’s new public adjuster regulations will require non-resident public adjusters to provide information in their contracts regarding compensation, bonding requirements, right to choose additional vendors.  On the whole, transparency is good for Wisconsin consumers.  The law also requires education for public adjusters. Having educated adjusters is a good thing.

That said, we are skeptical that the intent behind the law is to protect consumers.  The Law was proposed by the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, which is a trade association of property and casualty insurance companies.  Although WIA members have their own adjusters and hire independent adjusters, the law exempts insurance company adjusters are exempt from licensing and education requirements. This doesn’t seem fair because insurance adjusters have more ability to harm Wisconsin consumers by inappropriately applying exclusions and underpaying claims.  We believe that the laws should apply equally to both public adjusters and insurance company adjusters.

4.     Insurance Dispute?

Regardless of what stage you are at in the insurance claims process, if you feel your insurance company is wrongfully denying, delaying, or underpaying feel free to call the lawyers at Murdock Law at (844) 744-7529 so we can evaluate your case and discuss next steps.

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