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Independent Adjuster Licensing – The Year In Review

2012 saw many changes when it came to the world of Independent Adjuster licensing.  For you experienced adjusters, this comes as no surprise.  Like the old saying says: “The only constant is change.”  Below is a recap of the state by state changes that occurred in 2012.  If you’re licensed in any these states read on to make sure you’re still in compliance.

Alabama announced they would begin requiring all resident adjusters take an exam in order to obtain an independent adjuster license. Alabama had not required any testing in the past, simply an application. They will also now issue by Lines of Authority; Property & Casualty, Property & Casualty excluding Workers Compensation, Crop and Apprentice. All resident applicants will be required to submit fingerprints.

Alaska began implementing the NIPR system for new applications, renewals, reinstatements and address changes. You can also do electronic email updates and print a copy of your license at no cost by accessing the Alaska DOI website.

Arizona clarified they will only reciprocate with individuals and entities holding a home state license. Reciprocity not be granted to anyone with a designated home state license.

The state of Delaware will now accept applications through the NIPR system for those adjusters holding a Designated Home State license. They are also offering email address updates for individuals and business entities through their state DOI website.

Florida made some major changes. They once had an overabundance of license types. All adjusters will now be given the “All Lines Adjuster” designation. This means individuals as well as Independent Firms will be able to appoint any licensed adjuster in the state. They have also implemented the “MyProfile” portion of the website which allows adjusters to keep track of their CE compliance date, appointments, profiles, etc. New applicants may also create a MyProfile account and submit an application online.

Georgia will now issue a two-year license beginning with this year’s 12/31/12 renewal period. With the addition of the Citizenship Affidavit requirement, the state is behind on processing and is asking that everyone be patient. They are processing as quickly as possible to try to complete the renewals by the end of the year. If you have not yet submitted your Citizenship Affidavit your renewal will be held until it is received. More information on this requirement can be found on the GA DOI website.

Michigan began accepting application through NIPR. They also announced they have a new vendor, PSI, for residents needing to take the initial exam.

Oklahoma announced it no longer requires a proctor be present during the final exam for self-study CE courses. They also made the announcement of a new license exam which began on November 1, 2012. If you will be taking the OK exam, you want to make sure you have the most current up-to-date study materials prior to taking the exam.

Effective in May of this year Oregon’s main processing system became the State Based System. However, business entities will not be able to apply or renew online. Adjusters need to make sure the state has a current email address on file as they are no longer mailing paper correspondence. All communication will be done via email. Although SBS is their main processing system, you can process renewals through either NIPR or SBS.

Texas is now requiring IA firms conducting business in the state to now acquire a Business Entity Adjuster License. With so many changes, we will try to list what we feel are the most important issues when it comes to IA licensing.

Important Change For Adjusting Firms Doing Business In Texas

For those of us who have been in the adjuster licensing field for some time now, Texas has always been known as one of the states which did not require adjusting firms to hold a business entity license. Along with so many other things, this too has changed.

Recently, Texas began requiring adjusting firms to acquire a business entity license to work claims in their state. Finding the application can actually be somewhat tricky. The form you will need to complete is TDI Form Number FIN507, “Licensing Application for Insurance Agency License.” Although adjusting firms typically do not consider themselves “agencies,” the adjuster entity application is contained within the agency license application.

To access the application, go to the Agent Forms located at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/forms/form11.html .  Scroll down to the Agent/Adjuster Application Forms. Here you fill find the necessary application to register your adjusting firm as a business entity in the state of Texas.

According to contacts within the Texas Department of Insurance, they have been so inundated with forms they are still processing processing applications submitted in September and October.  And now that word is getting out processing will most likely be even longer.  The department is working extremely hard to process all applications but it could take some time to actually receive your license.

Texas is a paper application state so open the form, fill out the appropriate fields and print it.  Do not follow the think for an online application because it will ultimately direct you back to the paper form.

Remember also that the first step to obtaining a business entity adjusting license is to register to do business in Texas. Like other state’s you’ll be required to provide proof that the business is registered.

Putting in a small plug for Xeneros; we can help you acquire both your business registration and business entity license for $125 plus state and registered agent fees.  Contact sales@xeneros.net for an easy way to become compliant in Texas.

Hurricane Sandy Heading to the East Coast – Understanding Emergency Licensing

The current predictions are that Hurricane Sandy is going to make landfall somewhere along the East Coast. The impending storm will most likely affect the New England states. With that in mind, there are many questions as to the requirements for Emergency Adjuster licensing procedures in those states. We are going to try to give you a brief summary of the requirements for the licensed states which may be impacted by the storm. Keep in mind that the requirements will vary depending on if you are an independent firm or an insurer or carrier.

We always recommend obtaining an adjusting license in lieu of an emergency license. Licenses are good for one to three years depending upon the state and you can be mobilized immediately if you already have a license making you more valuable to IA firms. Lastly, states are making it harder, not easier to obtain emergency licenses.

Xeneros provides a license acquisition service. Xeneros helped dozens of adjusters during Isaac. For a small fee, Xeneros will complete the online or paper documents, submit them on your behalf and then follow up with that state until the license is issued. For more information contact: sales@xeneros.net.

Here is a rundown of the potentially affected states that have licensing requirements:

Connecticut – The state of Connecticut only allows for insurers to mobilize emergency adjusters in the event of a catastrophe:

“Insurers (does not include independent firms) must send an email to cid.licensing@ct.gov for permission to handle CAT claims, specifying exact number of the catastrophe, type of storm (snow, flood, tornado, hurricane, etc.), and the part of the state (county) affected. The e-mail MUST include the company’s NAIC number.  Include list of all personnel and who will be working in the state: their home state, name(s) and address(es) of adjusting firm(s) if being utilized, AND copies of the licenses of personnel currently licensed in their home state or any state where they hold an active license. If home state does not require licensing and the adjuster does not hold an active adjuster license in any other state, the insurance company must verify in writing that the individual has a minimum of (2) year’s experience as an adjuster. The DOI will send an email confirmation to the company authorizing a list of individuals for a period of 90 days. A copy of the letter should be given to each adjuster. Authorization is renewable for additional periods dependent upon performance, complaints, etc. The Commissioner may revoke authority at any time. The insurance company must provide each individual with a photo ID which should be displayed at all times.”

For more information on the Connecticut requirements you can visit their website at http://www.ct.gov/cid/site/default.asp. The quickest way to find information on emergency licensing is to do a search in the upper right hand corner of their home page.

Delaware – As with Connecticut, Delaware requires the request for emergency licensing come from an insurer:

“No adjuster’s license shall be required for any adjuster sent into this State on behalf of an insurer for the investigation or adjustment of a particularly unusual or extraordinary loss, or series of losses, resulting from a catastrophe common to all such losses; provided that such adjuster shall furnish to the Commissioner written notice within 10 calendar days of any such catastrophic insurance adjustment work. Applications can be submitted online and are issued for 60 days. A letter from the insurance carrier must be faxed to the DOI or emailed indicating an application has been submitted online for an Emergency CAT Adjuster license. The letter must indicate the name, phone number, and email address of the company official who is responsible for the Emergency CAT Adjuster for the duration of the license. The Emergency CAT Adjusters is required to carry this license, along with a photo ID in order to gain access to disaster areas during an emergency.”

You can do a search on the Delaware website at http://delawareinsurance.gov/ for more information on emergency procedures.

Maine – The state of Maine does not issue emergency adjuster licenses. In the event of an emergency or catastrophe, all adjusters are required to hold a license in the state of Maine. Paper applications can be completed and emailed to the state providing the hard copy is mailed at a later date. If an adjuster intends to email the application to the state, contact the department at 800-791-4080 to request an email address and inform them you are submitting an application for the catastrophe and the state will process these licenses with priority.

New Hampshire – New Hampshire accepts applications for emergency licensing online. Whether you hold a home state, designated home state or non-resident license in another state, providing you took an exam, you can submit an application online. For adjusters who live in non-licensed states, there is an exemption of having 6-months adjusting experience. Those adjusters must submit a paper application which can be hand delivered to the state. All applications for emergency licensing are processed immediately.

More information can be found at the following link: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/producers/adjusterslicenses.htm. Scroll to the bottom of the page and the requirements are listed under “New Hampshire Insurance Department – For Producer/Adjusters, Adjusters Licenses ***Temporary/Emergency/Catastrophe Adjuster Licenses***” This will also give you the links to make the applications online or print the paper application.

New York – New York is another state which requires the permits be requested by “authorized Insurers only.” The application is available online at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/licensing/permit_temp_adjuster.htm.

Rhode Island – Per the state’s requirements, independent firms are eligible to register adjusters. A word document must be emailed to emergenyadj@dbr.ri.gov including the name, business address and other contact information of the employer of the experienced adjuster whom the entity is engaging for emergency adjusting services. 1) The name of each experienced adjuster whom the entity has used for emergency services; 2) The state(s) in which the individual is licensed as an adjuster; or 3) a statement that the individual regularly adjusts in another state where such licensing is not required and works for an adjusting entity or insurance company authorized to do business in Rhode Island.

For more information on Rhode Island’s requirements visit their website at http://www.dbr.state.ri.us/divisions/insurance/.

Vermont – Before any emergency licenses are issued, the Insurance Commissioner must first declare a catastrophe in the state. In the event the catastrophe is declared, only insurers are eligible to submit a list of adjusters for emergency licensing. The adjuster must be licensed in his/her resident state or other state if resident state does not issue such license. The insurer must notify the Department of its intention to use catastrophe adjusters and provide a list of names, addresses and license information for individuals who will be adjusting.

If you have further questions regarding Vermont’s requirements for emergency licensing you can email dfr.producerlicensing@state.vt.us. Make sure to provide them with a telephone number where they may contact you.

As a final note, please know that all states which require the insurer request the emergency license this means EACH insurer the adjuster intends to adjust claims for must submit a form on their behalf. If company ABC Insurance submits a form on behalf of adjuster John Smith in the state of New York, this means adjuster Smith is only eligible to work for ABC Insurance. If there are other insurers he intends to adjust claims for, those insurers must also submit forms on his behalf. This holds true for each state requiring the insurer submit a form.

Alabama Adds Exam, CE, and More

Alabama has never required an exam in order to acquire an IA license. This is about to change.

The state of Alabama recently announced they are in the midst of some major changes. The biggest of which will be the requirement of an exam in order to obtain the Alabama Independent Adjuster license. The exam will apply to any resident who does not hold a valid adjuster license. Those residents will be required to complete a pre-licensing course prior to taking the Alabama exam. Non-residents who hold another license in a state in which they tested will still be able to obtain the license through reciprocity.  At this time, it is unknown whether or not current license-holders will be grandfather and if so, what the terms are.

Currently, Alabama only issues a standard IA license with no lines of authority listed. They will begin offering different types of licenses: Property & Casualty including Workers’ Compensation, Property & Casualty excluding Workers’ Compensation, Workers’ Compensation, and Crop. The number of hours of pre-licensing needed will depend on the type of license being applied for.

One other significant change will be the Continuing Education requirement. In the past, no CE was needed to renew an Alabama IA license. Beginning in 2014, resident adjusters will be required to complete 24 hours of CE, including 3 hours of ethics. Non-Resident Adjusters who have met their home state requirement for CE will be exempt from the Alabama requirement. If your home state, or designated home state, has no requirement you will need to comply with Alabama’s CE requirements. All CE must be complete prior to the 2014 renewal period.

License terms have also been adjusted to biennial renewals. Adjusters will renew every two years in their birth month based on their year of birth, odd or even. Business Entities will renew every two years, in odd years. The state fees are $100 plus NIPR transaction fee.

For more information on any upcoming changes in the state of Alabama, visit their Department of Insurance homepage at http://www.aldoi.gov/. All bulletins are posted directly in the middle of the homepage. If you are a producer, you may want to visit their site as there are changes affecting producers as well.

Florida Announces Licensing Changes

Recently, the Securities and Insurance Licensing Association (SILA) held its National Educational Conference in Denver, Colorado. SILA is a fantastic organization dedicated to the insurance licensing world. If you are involved in licensing matters for insurance agents, securities brokers, broker/dealers, TPA’s, appraisers, or adjusters, SILA can assist with any questions or concerns that arise.

In addition to licensing professionals, insurance regulators from many states attend the conference. Sessions are held to review upcoming changes. One of the most important changes relates to Florida and the license types it issues. Florida announced they have reduced the types of licenses issued from 24 to 2. Most importantly, they will no longer differentiate between an Independent Adjuster and a Company Adjuster.

Why is this so important? In order for an adjuster to be eligible to work claims in the state of Florida they must hold an appointment. There are two types of appointments, a self-appointment or a company appointment. In the past, if an adjuster held a company license, he or she could only be appointed by a company. If the adjuster opted to leave the company and decide to work as an independent adjuster, the only way they could be appointed was to change their license type to an independent adjuster versus a company adjuster. This involved resubmitting their application to the state. Adjusting firms were not able to appoint an adjuster who held a company license and the adjuster themselves could not do a self-appointment.

With the change that took effect on October 1, 2012, firms, companies and individuals are able to appoint regardless of the type of license held. The state intends to change all adjusters over to a simple “Adjuster” license. No more Company Adjuster or Independent Adjuster. The adjusters will no longer need to change the type of license they hold in order to be eligible for an appointment, regardless of who does the appointing.

For more information on Florida licensing and appointments, visit their website at http://www.floir.com/ and click on Agents/Agency Services. This will take you to the Licensing and Compliance section where you can find information regarding MyProfile, Continuing Education Information, forms, eAppoint and much more.

For more information on SILA you can visit their website at http://www.sila.org. The website gives information on how you can join the association. If you are a company or firm handling your own licensing in-house, SILA is a valuable tool to assist you in staying current with all the industry changes. States release Regulatory Announcements to SILA and they are posted on their website. However, these announcements are only available to members.

Congratulations to Louisiana on their Prompt Response to Adjuster Licensing

Xeneros, LLC offers a service that acquires state licenses for insurance adjusters and independent adjusting firms. As you know, Louisiana was struck by Hurricane Isaac. Due to changes in emergency licensing requirements Xeneros was inundated with requests to help adjusters in transit to or already in Louisiana to adjust claims.

Many states, including Louisiana, do issue an emergency license in the event of an emergency or catastrophe. However, in the state of Louisiana, the requests for emergency licenses must come from the carriers (as anyone currently in Louisiana now knows). Therefore, the best option of most claims adjusters was to obtain a regular non-resident adjuster license.

With what we can only assume was an overwhelming request for adjuster licenses, the Louisiana Department of Insurance Licensing Bureau was extremely responsive and they were able to turn around online requests approximately 24 hours. For those submitting paper applications, the department was processing the day they received the application. In cases of extreme emergency need of a license, they had adjusters overnight the application to the licensing department reviewed them the same day.

Not only was the state of Louisiana responsive, they were processing applications Labor Day weekend. We know because Xeneros was submitting applications on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they were being approved overnight.

After Hurricane Katrina and many other recent storms, or threats of storms, the Louisiana Department of Insurance realized the need to have licensed adjusters in the state as quickly as possible to ensure their residents received a quick response to their loss. Hurricane Isaac seemed to test what they had learned and they rose to the occasion. The state of Louisiana passed with flying colors.

Xeneros and its’ clients, would like to pass along a big thank you, and congratulations, to the state of Louisiana. Specifically to those individuals who worked long hours, and over the weekend, to make sure these adjusters received their license in a timely manner. You definitely made the process easier by getting adjusters ready for deployment sooner rather than later. Thank you.

Licensing Lessons Learned From Isaac

Many adjusters headed south this last week toward Louisiana in search of work.  Isaac had all the makings of a serious matter and our adjusting fraternity had every intention of helping insureds. 

When many adjusters were in route or onsite, they learned that the emergency licensing requirements had changed. Well – they’re changing all over, and not necessarily with the intention of making and adjuster’s life easier.  In Louisiana, only carriers can request emergency licenses and many are reluctant to add the names of and IA firms roster, which is completely understandable.

For any adjuster there’s really only one option: acquire a license.  But there’s another catch; to acquire a license the quickest way, you have to apply online and to apply online you have to have a home state or a designated home state. This means your Texas non-resident license is not good enough.  Online applications are being processed in one business day while mailed in applications are taking up to five.  That’s a significant amount of income being sacrificed sitting in a hotel room, waiting for the state to approve an application.  

Compare that to an adjuster who had a designated home state license that learned somewhere between Kansas and Louisiana that he needed a license.  He called Xeneros on Friday and on Saturday had his Louisiana license (true story).  Why? There are several factors:

  1. The adjuster had a designated home state license.  Most online applications require a home state or designate home state. A non-resident license is simply not good today.  He had the foresight to designate a home state.
  2. Xeneros processes all licenses within  2 hours of receipt of payment information. Xeneros’ license acquisition saved the adjuster hours or days in applying for the license.   Knowing exactly what was necessary also helped.
  3. To Louisiana’s credit, they were processing licenses Friday night and Saturday.  And every day since, they have been processing license applications in a day or less(we know; we’ve been submitting applications on behalf of adjusters at a blistering pace every day).

The end result is a pool of adjusters ready, willing and able to help insureds get back on their feet and into their homes.  This is cooperation at it’s finest. 

Hurricane Isaac Licensing Update: Mississippi

isaac 8-29

CAT 87 has been declared and it includes Mississippi, the one state we have not yet discussed when it comes to emergency licensing.  The state of Mississippi will allow adjusters holding a home state license to go through either NIPR or Sircon and apply for an Emergency License. Non-resident adjusters will have to submit a paper application. The state does process paper Emergency Adjuster applications with priority. There is no way of telling the true timeline as it all depends on how many applications they receive.

The following link will take you to the Mississippi Department of Insurance’s page on Adjuster Licensing: http://www.mid.state.ms.us/licensing/adjuster_licensing.aspx.

For non-resident adjusters, the paper application can be found under the Individual Licensing Forms. If you hold a home state license, scroll down to the Adjuster Licensing Online Services section and click on “Apply for a License Online.” This will take you directly to Sircon. If you prefer to use NIPR, the following link will take you to their home page: http://www.nipr.com/. Select the Non-Resident Adjuster Initial License along the left side of the screen and complete the online process.

Isaac Independent Adjuster Licensing Update

Isaac 8-26

Although it was originally predicted that Tropical Storm Isaac would come ashore somewhere in Florida or straight up through Alabama, it now appears to be headed directly for New Orleans. The storm is predicted to hit sometime on Wednesday, August 29th, just four days after the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  If you are an Independent Adjuster holding a home state license and you are not yet licensed in Louisiana, now is the time to go to NIPR, located at http://www.nipr.com and apply for the Louisiana regular non-resident license. When making application for your license please keep in mind you must apply for the same line or lines of authority for which you have tested in your home state. If you hold an All Lines license, you will want to apply for the Comprehensive license.

Louisiana’s website states, “Independent claims adjusters may not apply individually for Emergency Claims Registration. You must be employed or retained by an insurer who will complete a registration on your behalf. Please contact your sponsoring insurance company.” In other words, if you are working as an IA for one or even multiple Adjusting Firms, they will be unable to register you to work the catastrophe. As stated, only insurers are able to register adjusters. This is why we recommend you apply now for a regular non-resident license if you do not currently hold one. If you do hold a license in the state you will not be required to complete any type of registration as a catastrophe or emergency adjuster.

With the projected path, there is also the possibility of the storm affecting the state of Alabama. Independent Adjusters called to work the catastrophe in the state of Alabama need to be registered by either a Licensed Independent Adjusting Firm or Insurer. The firm or insurer logs in to the Emergency Adjusters Registration System, located at https://aldoi.gov/OnlineAAP/default.aspx and requests a certain number of passes. The passes are $50 per pass plus a $2 registration fee. The IA firm or Insurer will name one person responsible for the passes. Once the company receives and distributes the passes, the responsible person must then go back to the above link and actually register the adjusters who have received the passes. Registration will include name, SSN, pass type (either Disaster Emergency Adjuster Pass or Disaster Emergency Access Pass which allows specified adjusters into areas of the catastrophe that are restricted by law), and pass number assigned to each adjuster. The link to report the adjuster information is located on the registration page and the information will be uploaded via an Excel spreadsheet. Please note the person responsible for the passes will need the Payment Confirmation Number when submitting the adjusters for registration.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

* Photo courtesy of National Hurricane Center

Florida Licensing Clarification For Emergency Claims

There have been misconceptions concerning the Florida Department of Insurance’s rules on working a catastrophe should the Insurance Commissioner deem it necessary to issue emergency licenses to adjusters.

Earlier this year the FL DOI announced changes regarding the MyProfile system. The state is now requiring all adjusters currently working, or anticipating working, in the state of Florida to create and maintain a MyProfile account. This includes adjusters who are licensed in the state of Florida and those adjusters that are not licensed but intend to obtain an emergency license in such an event. 

If you have not already done so, now would be the time to create your MyProfile account. The most common misconception we are hearing is some adjusters believe that even though they currently hold a license in the state of Florida they will also need to apply for an emergency license using the MyProfile system. This is not the case. They WILL be able to work the storm, but ONLY if they have already created their MyProfile account. No adjuster, licensed or otherwise, will be eligible to work a catastrophe unless he/she is in the MyProfile system.

If the Insurance Commissioner deems it necessary to issue emergency licenses, non-licensed adjusters will be able to access the MyProfile account they have created and apply for an emergency license. The license application is not available unless, or until, the Commissioner calls an emergency and posts a bulletin.

Please visit the MyProfile Information page to find out more about the types of things you can do online. If you are a licensed Florida adjuster, part of the MyProfile application is an Education database through which you will find education course listings and locations.

Adjuster Licensing: For a New Player in the Game, the Hoosier State is Holding it’s Own

As many of you know, or may not know, Indiana became a licensed state for independent insurance adjusters as of July 1, 2011. They gave a six month grace period allowing for all independent adjusters currently working in the state with five or more years of experience time to submit their applications and be grandfathered in to the licensing process without taking an exam.

If you did not submit your application by December 31, 2011, you are required to take an exam. There have been many questions overly exactly who is giving the Indiana exam. In the beginning, the state was going to administer the exam but have now turned this process over to AdjusterPro. To prepare for the exam AdjusterPro offers a 40-hour pre-licensing online course or actual classroom training.

I recently read an article written by AdjusterPro which brought up many good points that adjusters or prospective adjusters may not be aware of. This is something I have intended to write about for some time so this seems like as good a time as any.

For many years the most sought after license in the independent adjusting industry has been the Texas adjuster license. Everyone wanted to obtain the Texas license due to the reciprocity between states. Keep in mind…if you live in a state which requires an adjuster license, you should always first and foremost, obtain your home state license. But, if you live in one of the 16 states which do not require a license you need to start somewhere. This is where the Texas license always came in to play. Everyone always said, “Get the Texas license first, it’s the best one to have.” In the past, this may have been true, but today it’s not necessarily the case.

Texas offers a 40-hour online course. Upon successfully passing the exam at the end, their paper application requires that non-resident adjusters submit either a complete criminal history background check which includes fingerprints, or actual fingerprints which must be done through an outside source. Before you can submit your application you must wait for the outside vendor to process your fingerprints and send you a receipt. This alone can take 2-4 weeks. Texas then has to process your application. At this point, you are now looking at a time frame of anywhere from five to eight weeks before you receive your Texas adjuster license. Don’t take this the wrong way, Texas is still a desirable state license to have as an independent adjuster.

Now let’s take a look at Indiana. Indiana offers the same 40-hour pre-licensing course and upon successfully passing the exam at the end of the course, you receive your “Certificate of Completion,” to be signed by your proxy. Indiana does not require that you submit fingerprints and you submit your application online.  They will process your application in approximately 3-5 days.

What about reciprocity? The state of Indiana also allows adjusters living in non-licensed states to designate Indiana as their home state. This will allow them to apply for additional licenses online versus paper applications like in the old days. Indiana’s license is just as reciprocal as the Texas license. Both have a few states who do not reciprocate, but those states do not reciprocate with any other state either.

To summarize, compared to Texas, the Indiana license can be obtained in a shorter period of time with slightly fewer requirements and has the same reciprocity.

To read the complete article written by AdjusterPro you can click on the following link: http://www.adjusterpro.com/insurance-adjuster-blog/indiana-adjuster-license-vs-texas. For additional information on their Indiana Adjuster Online or Classroom training classes, visit their Indiana home page at http://www.adjusterpro.com/insurance-adjuster-training/indiana-adjuster-license.html. They also have a live Online Chat if you have any questions or you can contact their customer service by calling (214) 329-9030.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Demystifying Adjuster And Auto Appraiser Licensing

We all know the world of adjuster licensing can be confusing. Add appraiser licensing and it becomes even more confusing. There are some misconceptions involving appraiser’s licenses. Here are a couple: Myth 1: if you hold an adjuster license you are also licensed to appraise vehicles. Myth 2: if you are in a state which does not require an adjuster license an appraiser license is not required.

An appraiser is defined in most states as "A person, partnership, association or corporation which practices as a business the appraising of damages to motor vehicles insured under automobile physical damage policies or on behalf of third-party claimants."

There are seven states which require staff adjusters hold an appraiser license:

Connecticut

Delaware

Massachusetts

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

In addition to these states, two others Nevada and Vermont require independent adjusters be licensed as an appraiser, separate from their independent adjuster license:

While the state of New York states that neither staff nor independent adjusters need an appraiser license, their statute does state that “staff and independent appraisers are required to hold an independent adjuster, automobile damage or theft appraisals line of authority. However, if a staff adjuster acts as an auto body repair estimator they must be licensed . . . as an independent adjuster, automobile or theft appraisals.”

In the state of Connecticut, even if you are licensed as an adjuster holding an Auto Line of Authority, you are still required to hold an appraiser license if you intend to appraise automobile damage. While in North Carolina, if you are licensed as an adjuster you do not have to also hold an appraiser license.

For independent adjusters, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are non-licensed states. However, appraisers must hold an appraiser license to appraise automobile damage. Sorry for the use of ‘appraise’ 3 times but we wanted to be clear.

If you are appraising automobile damage in any state, it is always a good idea to contact that states Department of Insurance to find out exactly what is required. Whether it be an appraiser license or a specific line of authority on your independent adjuster license.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Adjuster Licensing Best Practice – Verify Licenses

While most of us like to believe the information we receive from new adjusters when they are hired, is correct, current and valid, this is not always the case.  Many times adjusters come to us from other companies or firms. Once the adjuster leaves that employer, particularly if they were a carrier, may times that employer will cancel the adjuster’s licenses if they have been paying the fees and maintaining the adjuster’s licenses.

In some cases, the adjuster is not even aware this has occurred. They may believe they are still licensed in all the states they listed when you had the initial interview.   Other reasons that licenses may not be current may include a lack of CE’s or failure to provide a bond or appointment.  Most of the time, these are accidental issues that can be corrected easily.

As the licensing manager or director of your company, it is your responsibility to make sure all the information you are receiving is current. Each state has a way of verifying an adjuster’s license. By going to each of the individual states websites you can find a link to do a license lookup or verification. It may take you a few extra minutes for the onboarding process but it will pay off in the long run. By verifying the licenses, you’re ensuring your company is staying compliant in all the states which require independent adjusters be licenses. This ensures that you do not assign any losses to an unlicensed adjuster. Which, as all of us know, can have costly consequences for your company, your customer, and even the individual adjuster.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Property and Casualty Adjusters – Always Get An All Lines License

You’ve chosen the career path of Insurance Adjuster and are about to take your first exam. But where do you start? There are so many different exams. There are different lines of authority and different options to choose from. Is one better than the other? The answer is yes.

Your first step is to see if the state you live in requires a license. If so, take your home state exam. Then, check to see which exams for lines of authority are available for your state. Many states offer several choices. Some of the options available range from Property, Casualty, Worker’s Compensation, Fire Only, Personal, Commercial, General Lines to the All Lines exam. With so many variances from state to state, the best exam for you is one that will cover all lines of authority. Any exam such as All Lines, General Lines or Comprehensive, will cover any of the other lines such as Property or Casualty.  If you live in a non-licensed state take your exam in a state like Texas which offers an all lines license.

The importance of taking the right exam is for reciprocity. If you take a Property only exam and try to reciprocate to a state such as Louisiana, which offers Personal, Commercial and Comprehensive, and you intend on working Commercial or Casualty claims, your Property only exam will not allow you to apply for the lines needed in the state of Louisiana. It will only allow you to apply for Personal Lines of authority.

Some states offer so many lines of authority the options can be very confusing. If a state offers a “Fire Only” line of authority and that is what you test for, you are only eligible to work claims that are related to a fire loss such as smoke, water damage from the fire, or the actual fire damage. You are not eligible to work a wind or hail claim with the Fire Only license. However, had you opted to take the General Adjuster or General Lines, you would be eligible to work any loss that comes your way. And, as mentioned above, you won’t be able to work those claims in other states either.

By not taking the correct exam in the beginning, you could lose out on work by not holding the right lines of authority on your license.

If you are an officer of a company, it becomes even more important as to which exam and which lines of authority you hold. If there is any chance you will be named the Designated Responsible Licensed Producer for your company. When your company applies for their business entity license in a state, their DRLP’s lines of authority must match those which the company will be applying for. So as the DRLP, if you hold only a Property license but your company will be applying for and working Property, Casualty, Worker’s Compensation, or any other type of claim, your license will not qualify for the DRLP. The company’s license will be put on hold until an eligible DRLP, holding the proper lines of authority, can be affiliated to the company license.

So back to the original question…Which exam do I take? When offered, we recommend that you always opt for the General Lines, Comprehensive or All Lines license. That way you’ll be able to offer the most potential to an IA firm and leave the door open for expanded work in the future.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Don’t Let Your Adjuster Licenses Expire

Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to supervisor and you’ll never need another license again! Right? WRONG!  We’ve seen a number of individuals who’ve let their licenses lapse and now want renew for a variety of reasons.
Once you let your license expire, chances are pretty good that you’re going to have to retest.  And if you’re like me, testing is the second to last thing you want to do.  The last thing is study for the test!  So, why do you intentionally let a license expire?
  • Promotions – good people get promoted to positions that don’t require licenses.  The prevailing theory seems to be that once someone moves out of a licensed position they will never go back.  Wrong. Here are a couple reasons to keep your license:
    • Perhaps you decide the position isn’t for you or someone else decides it isn’t the position for you. Having a license will help you get going again fast.
    • You start your own firm.  19 states require IA Firms to be licensed and 15 require you to assign a Designated Responsible Licensed Producer (DRLP), 4 of which require the DRLP to be an officer.  Chances are you’ll be the DRLP and will need a license. Who hasn’t thought about starting their own firm?
  • Change of career – Perhaps you got tired of being an adjuster and decide that you want out. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener. Situations change or perhaps you simply miss being an adjuster more than you thought.  This epiphany isn’t always overnight and can be years later.
Here’s a simple way to make sure you don’t have to study and retest (for the most part because there are always exceptions with licensing).   If you live in a licensed state, always maintain your home state license.  Obtaining a home state license almost always involves a test.  Keep it current so you don’t have to test again.  If you live in a non-licensed state, maintaining a license in a state like Indiana, Texas, or Florida, who has favorable reciprocity, will allow you to obtain additional licenses down the road should the need arise.
Really the choice is yours. Would you like to pay the renewal fees and take the CE courses, or study and test?  Most of our clients who chose the latter regret it.
About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Licensing Information Regarding Recent Emergencies

CATASTROPHE SERIAL NO. 83

DATES:

June 28, 2012 To July 2, 2012

STATES:

Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Possibly Other Areas.

PERILS:

Flooding, Hail, Tornadoes, Wind

STORM FAMILY:

Wind and Thunderstorm Event

Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and New Jersey

These are non-licensed states and therefore no emergency license is required.

Indiana and West Virginia

Only Insurance Companies can complete the forms necessary to acquire an emergency license. If you are an Independent Firm, it is easier to acquire the regular IA license. They are processing quickly and they are both online applications. The WV license can be acquired through NIPR if you hold a home state or designated home state license. It’s important that the adjuster makes sure they are clicking on the Non-Resident Adjuster Initial License. There have been instances of adjusters inadvertently clicking the Non-Resident Producer button and applying for the incorrect license.

WV offers only Public Adjuster, Company Adjuster or Crop Adjuster. As an IA you need to apply for the Company Adjuster license even if  you are not affiliated with a company. The fee for the regular license is $25 plus any fees charged by NIPR. We Most licenses are being issued with 24 hours.

Indiana is applied for through Sircon. They have a longer processing time of 3-5 days but again, if you intend to work for multiple companies it is easier to acquire this license. Otherwise, every company you intend to work for has to complete a form verifying your eligibility. The cost of a non-resident IA license in IN is $90 plus any fees charged by Sircon. Again, you must hold a valid home state or designated home state license to apply online.

North Carolina

The state of North Carolina has instructions on their website on how to acquire an emergency license. They put out a memo every year that includes a template of a badge you must have to enter the emergency areas. The bulletin including instruction on how companies can deploy emergency adjusters can be found at: http://www.ncdoi.com/LS/Documents/Bulletins/2012/Bulletin 12-B-02  Procedures for Catastrophic Adjusters.pdf#search="emergency license".

South Carolina

South Carolina also requires insurers to send in forms qualifying adjusters for an emergency license. Therefore, IA’s can apply for a regular IA license at: https://online.doi.sc.gov/Eng/Public/Common/OnlineServices.aspx thus allowing them to work for any company. If they go through the insurer, each company must complete the form in order for the adjuster to do work for their company.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Important Information For Florida Adjuster License Holders

At the beginning of this year Florida made some changes to their online system. The change requires each individual holding a Florida adjusters license to set up an account in the MyProfile portion of the Florida system. Florida sent out notifications to all Florida licensees involving this change. The MyProfile system allows you to view all your information regarding your Florida license, the most important thing being your compliance and your CEU's. This systems is also giving Florida a better way to watch and monitor their licensees. A few cases have been reported involving either those needing CEU's not being compliant with these CEU's or those who should be exempt due to their home state requirements are actually showing as non-compliant.

Once you go out of compliance, they also cancel your appointment making you ineligible to work claims in Florida. While adjusters who should be exempt due to home state requirements should technically not be out of compliance, they will consider you so until you send them a letter of good standing from your home state. We suggest you then also make to call to ensure they have received the letter and verify if a re-appointment is in order to make the license once again compliant.

Once you create an account, you can click on the compliance evaluation. This will show you where you whether or no you are in compliance. It will also show you if you are exempt or how many CEU's you are required to complete. In addition it will tell you your next compliance period.

This is an extremely hot topic right now in Florida as they are cancelling appointments which in turn makes the adjuster out of compliance. Using this system to verify your compliance status is the best way to ensure that you, and any independent firms you may be working for, are staying compliant in the state of Florida. As you know, compliance is very important in the adjusting industry. There are many fines and penalties which can be incurred. These penalties can include your license being permanently revoked for that state.

For more information on this topic please visit the Florida Department of Insurance website.

Verify Adjuster Licensing Status

Even if an adjuster provides documentation showing that they have a valid license in a particular state, it’s important that the firm verify the adjuster’s status with the state. At the time the adjuster is initially hired or contracted for work, the adjuster should submit all valid license documentation for all the states that the adjuster holds a license. 

The firm’s compliance staff should then perform a state-by-state check to verify the adjuster is in good standing in that state.  This is a pretty simple process because every state has their licensing information available on a website.  Simply access the records portion of the site and enter the required information.  Most often a legal name and address will suffice. Some states, like New York, require more information like social security numbers or license numbers.

Once an adjuster is working claims for the firm, licenses should continue to be monitored and verified by the firm on the state website.  Self-compliance, trusting and expecting that the adjuster is properly maintaining their licenses, is the least favorable option and exposes the adjusting firm to the most risk.  First, they are professionals at adjusting claims, not trying to keep licenses current.  Good adjusters, while organized, are also very busy and often on the road. 

Furthermore, state rules are forever changing and it’s difficult enough for a full-time compliance person to stay on top of all the changes with requirements, much less a busy claims adjuster.  Even a small change such as a renewal date switching from a calendar date to the date the adjuster received a license can easily be missed.

Ultimately, the risk and liability for adjuster licensing falls on the firm.  A carrier who experiences the ramifications of an unlicensed adjuster will not accept “it’s the adjuster’s fault” that their license wasn’t valid.  Take the extra step and ensure compliance.  It’s to everyone’s benefit.

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Improper Licensing Is The Fastest Growing Risk Issue

In 2007, licensing issues were not identified as a Top 10 risk exposure concern.  In 2010, it was number 4.  No other risk item has risen so fast. 

Recently I read a very good article in The Claim Spot addressing concerns that the market has regarding claims departments.  Within the article are links to Wolters Kluwer’s annual Top 10 Most Frequent Market Conduct Issues.    In 2010, licensing issues were the number 4 concern.  In 2007, licensing wasn’t even listed in the top ten.  Licensing was ranked tenth and sixth in 2008 and 2009 respectively. 

What does this mean? State agencies are becoming more vigilant about license regulation.  For example during emergencies, licensing department officials are increasingly in the field checking adjuster’s licenses.  Failure to be properly licensed can have serious consequences for the adjuster as well as the firm and carrier that they work for. 

If a claim is litigated, one of the first items to be reviewed is the adjuster’s license.  An invalid license immediately means trouble for the defendants.    

What doesn’t this mean? I don’t think this means that the industry as a whole has become increasingly lax about licensing because I think the opposite is true.  It think firms and carriers are paying more attention to licensing and are most likely more compliant today than they were in 2007.

More importantly, what does this mean to you?  If your firm has been soft on licensing, you should reconsider the priority that you give to licensing.  Marc Lanzkowsky offers some great advice in the article referenced above:  

  1. Audit for compliance:  Review where adjusters are being assigned claims.  Check each state’s website to make sure the state considers every license to be in good standing. Also, audit the business entity licenses to make sure the entity is properly licensed in the states that services are performed.  Remember, 19 states require the entity to be licensed.
  2. Fix and track problems: If you find serious issues with compliance, chances are you need to review your license management procedures.  First and foremost, self-regulation (adjusters being responsible for their own licensing) is not a good practice.  Look seriously at the level of importance given to licensing.  It needs to be a priority.  Assign a compliance person.  Someone within the organization needs to oversee licensing.  Don’t simply rely on information provided by the adjusters.  Go to each state’s website and verify an adjuster’s standing. 

In this regulatory and litigious environment, scrutiny of licensing will only continue to increase.  Do what you can to not be put under the microscope. 

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Where Can I find Information On Licensing Requirements?

Today, every state that requires a license for claims adjusters has all of the information that you need on their government website.  For almost every state, you can start at the department of insurance website for the state.   Xeneros has updated the 'list of states that require a license” document to now include links to each state’s website.  It can be accessed here

Now, sorting through the site to find the relevant information is another matter. As easy as this sounds, navigating each state’s website is not that simple.  If you’ve been a claims adjuster for any period of time, you know that the licensing requirements vary by state.  Navigating a state’s website to find the little bit of information you need can as complicated as understanding the licensing requirements themselves. 

Another resource for licensing information it LinkedIn.  If you aren’t ‘on’ LinkedIn I suggest you get an account and join a couple of groups.  Xeneros hosts one group called Insurance Licensing and Credentials.  You can pose questions and follow discussions.  A word of caution, however, most input is provided by other adjusters.

Finally, there are companies like Xeneros which will provided the administrative services to acquire and renew licenses and serve as in adjuster licensing clearinghouse.  All the licensing information is available on a single website or by calling a toll-free number and speaking to a compliance specialist. 

About Xeneros: Xeneros helps organizations maintain business entity and independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

What is a DRLP?

I’ve been in the industry for nearly six months now and every day brings a new acronym or a new term.  DRLP is the latest.  If you know what a DRLP is, then you’re well ahead of your peers. 

As we’ve discussed recently,19 states require an IA firm to hold an adjuster license.  Each state requires that you indicate who will be the Designated Responsible Licensed Producer, or DRLP.  The term, DRLP, is widely used in the insurance licensing world of producers, adjusters and business entities.

Many states require that insurance agencies or independent adjusting firms hold a business entity license in their state in order to conduct business as said agency or firm. To acquire the license, the majority of states ask that you name a DRLP on the application. In most cases, this DRLP must also hold a producer or adjuster license in the state as well. Essentially, the DRLP becomes responsible for ensuring the company is staying compliant with the state’s insurance laws, rules and regulations.

Who can be a DRLP?  As is common in the world of licensing, this answer varies by state.  Many states require the DRLP be an officer of the company while other states allow you to appoint anyone holding a license in that state as the DRLP. Follow this link for a list of who can be the IA firm’s DRLP.

If the DRLP terminates his or her association with the business entity or does not maintain his or her license or appointments, the business entity’s licenses will be inactivated. A DRLP’s association is a condition of licensure for the business entity. Business entity’s must notify the department of insurance of a replacement DRLP prior to the termination of the existing DRLP in order to avoid the license inactivation of the business entity’s license.

Xeneros helps organizations maintain independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net.

Question Of The Week: Which State Has The Easiest Exam?

This question was recently posed to us and the answer, of course, is not that simple.  The following blog addresses this question.

When it comes down to which state has the easiest adjuster exam to take, you also want to take a look at which states’ license is going to benefit you the most as an adjuster.

If you live in a state that requires adjusters be licenses, you should always test in your home state and acquire that license first. Based off the exam you take in your home state, most states will also recognize your license and allow for reciprocity. To find out your state’s requirements simply visit their Department of Insurance website and look under adjuster licensing.

If your home state does not require a license the most sought after licenses are the Texas and the Florida licenses due to their reciprocity with other states. The Texas license offers many online courses. With the online course, you study and take the exam at the end of the course to receive your certificate of completion. You then submit all the required documentation, along with the licensing fee, to the state of Texas and they issue your license.

If you prefer a classroom setting, you may also want to check into companies such as Mile High Adjusters, and Vale Training, who offer classes to be trained as an independent adjuster.

Once you have a Texas all lines adjusting license it reciprocates with most other states that require a license. There are some misconceptions when it comes to reciprocity. Although Texas reciprocates with most states, this does not mean you can simply go into those states and work based on your Texas license. You must first complete the states application and submit their license fees. You will then be issued a license in their state which will make you eligible to work claims.

When it comes to renewals, many states simply require a renewal fee. However, there are states which do require you complete Continuing Education prior to renewal. All states are different. Some states will accept your home state requirement, even if it does not require CE’s, as meeting their requirement. There are others, such are Arkansas, who requires you complete their CE requirement regardless of your home states requirements.

Others still, such as New York or New Mexico, require a bond. You must secure a bond in order to acquire the license, and submission of the bond upon renewal of the license, or when the bond itself expires.

In review, the first step is to determine whether you’re your home state requires you to be licensed as an independent adjuster. If not, look into possibly obtaining the Texas license. Many states are not recognizing certain states as a “Designated Home State,” which makes applying for other licenses electronically much easier. Texas is one state which allows you to designate them as your home state. Without either a home state license or a designated home state, you will be required to submit paper applications to most states and they take anywhere from two to six weeks to process, whereas an electronic application can be processed in approximately 24-72 hours.

Xeneros helps organizations maintain independent adjuster licenses and the associated requirements.  Xeneros uses an innovative web-based software program which is supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff. For more information go to www.xeneros.net

New Mexico Computer Glitch Cancels Adjuster Licenses

A computer error during a system conversion caused the licenses of all adjusters affiliated with a firm to be listed as Cancelled.  The insurance department is aware of the issue and has acknowledged that the licenses are still in good standing. 

New Mexico is no longer going to license “Firm Adjusters.” They are converting all licenses to Independent Adjusters with Firm Affiliations. During their system conversion there was a glitch in the system and it cancelled out the Firm Adjuster licenses on 3/7/12. The Cancel Code states Firm Adjuster Fix.

The state is aware of the issue and assures us that all license are active and will be corrected when the adjusters renewal for 2012 is received.  As a reminder, the deadline for renewing adjuster licenses is Monday, April 30th. The state cannot correct the error prior to receiving the renewal.

The New Mexico insurance department also stated they work on an alphabetical system. If an adjuster needs to check the status their license or renewal, the emails addresses are listed below according to the alphabetical system they use:

Letters A-B, U-V go to Aracelie.Alemedia@state.nm.us   Letters C-G and W go to Doris.Gomez@state.nm.us   Letters H-L and X –Y go to Sandra.Padilla-Ramirez@state.nm.us

Letters M-Q and Z go to Felicia.Roybal@state.nm.us   and Letters R-T go to Elizabeth.Smith@state.nm.us

For New New Mexico License information go to the following websites:

Link to their website: http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/insurance/index.html

Link to verify a license: http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/insurance/producer-search.html

The Importance of Obtaining a State License vs An Emergency License

Today’s blog is courtesy of compliance expert, Cyndie Jackson.

If you watch the news then you are aware of the recent tornadoes and baseball size hail that recently hit the Dallas, Texas area. Several people will be impacted by these storms and need assistance from their insurance companies and adjusters to take care of any damage their homes may have sustained. Many of these insureds may actually be without a home at this point. The sense of urgency for getting help to these insureds is why we need to look at the procedures in place for emergency licensing.

The state of Texas will only issue an emergency license if the Insurance Commissioner calls an emergency. They do not rely on any other third parties to call a catastrophe. It must come directly from the Insurance Commissioner himself. The Commissioner will not declare an emergency for storms such as the one recently experienced in Dallas as the state feels there are enough licensed adjusters to be able to handle a storm of this size. While this may be true across the country, it may not be true for one small agency using independent adjusters or independent adjusting firm. Therein lies the importance of obtaining a state license. If an adjuster holds a resident or non-resident adjuster license, they can work any and all claims in the state in which they hold a license. If a catastrophe should occur there is no need to wade through the paperwork and cut through the red tape to obtain an emergency license.

If an independent adjuster would like to be a catastrophe adjuster, it would benefit him or her to obtain any state licenses prior to any storms occurring. As we all know, the primary storm areas are along the East coast as well as the Southern coastal states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Most of these states will reciprocate with a Texas license.

In closing, it is imperative you check the states requirements prior to beginning work in their state. Review our previous blog on reciprocity for more information.

When IA Firms Need To Register As A Foreign Corporation

Our recent blog regarding the need for IA Firms to be licensed in 19 states was our most popular and most discussed to date.  The section that drew the most questions was regarding the need to register as a foreign corporation in each state that an IA Firm does business. 

To review, if a firm has adjusters working claims in a state, whether they are direct hires (W-2) or contractors(1099s), the states say that the organization needs to register to do business in that state.  This is the case whether or not the state requires an IA business entity license.  I am not an attorney, so the why’s of this are beyond my area of expertise and if you desire further clarification, consult and attorney.   This means that whether or not an IA firm has an office in the state the company will have to register to do business in that state.

When and IA firm is formed in one state and registers to do business in another, the firm registers in the other state as a ‘Foreign Corporation”.  To me that sounds like a company from Canada, Mexico, Europe, or somewhere outside of the US, but it’s not. 

Every state requires that you have a “registered agent” with a physical address in that state.  Oftentimes when an organization registers to do business in their home state, an officer or member of the business is designated as the registered agent.  When you register as a foreign corporation, you will most likely not have a physical address in that state.  Don’t worry, there are “Registered Agent” businesses that can serve as your registered agent in a particular state. 

It is not surprising (especially for those in the insurance business) to note that there isn’t a consistent state office (or state website) to find business registration applications. The best thing to do is to perform a search that includes the name of the state and the term “business registration”.   The good news is that most registration forms are much shorter and require much less information than the state of incorporation form.

After you are registered as a foreign corporation, you can then apply for the adjuster entity license.  Every state asks for confirmation that you are registered to do business in that state.

Legal Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and the above information is not legal advice.

This blog is published by Xeneros, LLC.  Xeneros helps organizations streamline their professional license management process with an innovative web-based software program supported and maintained by a knowledgeable compliance staff.  Current markets served include Insurance, Healthcare, Attorneys, and General Contractors.

Linkedin Discussion Hints

I’m surprised when I see negative comments provided on Linkedin discussion groups. Recently, I read a rather disrespectful reply by someone holding the title of “President” of a company. As an active Linkedin user, I’ve seen plenty of impolite posts and I suspect that anyone who uses Linkedin groups regularly knows what I’m talking about.  I’ve put together this short bit of advice to help Linkedin users.

HINT NUMBER 1 – THIS ISN’T FACEBOOK

Linkedin is a community of professionals, not a collection of family and friends that you can rant and rave to and at.  Posting negative comments on Facebook generally won’t have negative ramifications for your business, but posting negatively on Linkedin may. 

HINT NUMBER 2 – READ “HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE”

It’s OK to disagree and to post a differing opinion. However, it’s “how” you disagree that matters.  My biggest take-away from Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book was how to offer a contrary opinion in a manner that is respectful to those you disagree with.  Offering an alternate viewpoint in a friendly manner will draw more consideration than a mean-spirited reply.  Of course, it’s harder to craft a respectful reply.  But over time your credibility and reputation will be stronger than ever.

HINT NUMBER 3 – WE’RE ALL IN SALES ON LINKEDIN

The old adage “everyone is in sales” applies on LinkedIn.  Your posts tell something about you as well as your company.  When you post in public forums, the content of your information is being evaluated for quality and accuracy.  The tone of your comments reflect upon you and your company.  

HINT NUMBER 4 – YOU ARE BEING WATCHED

Linkedin members receive updates of discussions and comments by email meaning that everyone in a group, whether or not they are participating in the discussion will see your comments. Active users spend time reviewing discussions and comments. Personally, when I see a post that draws my attention (for good or bad reasons), I view the profile of the individual.  An opinion of you, and the company you represent, is then formed.

Perhaps the best advice is one we have all heard before – if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. 

All About Bonds for Insurance Adjusters

We get asked many questions about bonds.  Because only three states, California, New Mexico, and New York require them, many adjusters don’t have to obtain bonds.  But if you do, or intend to, adjust claims in these states, you’ll have to get a bond.  

A bond is necessary for each state and the bond amounts vary. 

  • California requires a $2,000 bond,
  • New York requires a $1,000 bond,
  • New Mexico requires a $10,000 bond.

The bond is an advocate for policyholders.  It is structured to benefit any person or persons damaged by acts made by the insurance adjuster characterized by fraud, dishonesty, misstatement, misrepresentation, deceit and or any unlawful acts or omissions by the insurance broker.  In the event an adjuster is found negligent, the bond company must pay the damages sought in the bond claim.

The adjuster must submit the original, signed, notarized bond to the state when submitting their application. In many cases the bond company simply submits a new bond to the state when the other expires. Typically, bonds are issued yearly and expire on the date which they were issued, not based upon the license renewal date.

March Licensing Update

North Carolina, Michigan, and Vermont renewals are due at the end of March.  Michigan sends out renewals and require you to send in payment along with the renewal.  North Carolina and Vermont allow online renewals.

New Mexico renewals are due at the end of April.  Notices were sent out the first week of March.  If you do not receive your renewal soon contact the New Mexico Department of Insurance.  New Mexico requires that renewals be mailed in. New Mexico is one of the few states that also requires a bond.  When your bond is renewed you must notify the state.

As a reminder, effective January first of this year, Arkansas changed their license renewal due date to the adjuster’s birth date.  More and more states are moving to this renewal date system.

Did you know that the Texas adjuster license renewal date is the date the license was issued, not a month end or a birth date.  You can either refer to the license or look up the renewal date online.

Adjuster licensing is complicated. Xeneros’ online license management solution makes managing licenses simple. 

Do Adjuster Licenses Matter In The Hiring Process?

When selecting candidates for positions, licenses play a part in whether or not you get in the door.  According to Traci Harris, HR Specialist at Eagle Adjusting Services, she looks for adjusters to hold a license in their home state, where required. If they are near a state line she prefers that they hold  a license in the neighboring states as well.

Harris says that “the more flexible adjusters are the better chance they have of getting into the industry.  I think it’s better when someone calls and says I’m willing to work day claims and CAT claims, rather than an adjuster who puts restrictions on the claims, or area’s they are willing to work.” Additionally, being properly licensed allows adjusters to get the day claims.

Even though getting a temporary license during a Cat is usually pretty easy, it doesn’t hurt to hold a license in a areas where Cats frequently occur. The benefit to you is you’re already licensed and won’t have to remember to acquire a Cat license. Just like regular licensing, every state’s rules for obtaining a Cat license are different.  Having a license eliminates the risk of making a mistake.

What States Require An Adjuster License?

Every day, we are asked which states require an insurance adjuster to hold a license.  If you wish to work claims in a particular state, it’s important to know the licensing requirements.  Every state has different requirements for claims adjusters.  Remember, you must always obtain a license in the state you wish to do work regardless of reciprocity. 

The following states require claims adjusters to be licensed:

Alabama Kentucky Oklahoma
Alaska Louisiana Oregon
Arizona Maine Rhode Island
Arkansas Michigan South Carolina
California Minnesota Texas
Connecticut Mississippi Utah
Delaware Montana Vermont
Florida Nevada Washington
Georgia New Hampshire West Virginia
Hawaii New Mexico Wyoming
Idaho New York  
Indiana North Carolina  

Email duane.weber@xeneros.net if you’d like a copy of this list.

Indiana was the most recent state to require an insurance adjuster to be licensed. Effective January 1st, 2012, if you intend to work claims in Indiana, you need to be licensed.

It’s also a surprise to many organizations that 19 states also require the business to  hold a business entity license in the state.  But that’s a topic for another day.

Arkansas Revises Licensing Renewal Requirements for Indiana Home State License-Holders

The following information pertains to adjusters who now hold an Indiana Resident License. 

Recently, the state of Arkansas sent out renewal notices to all their licensed adjusters. The notifications stated “Non-resident adjusters (licensed 2010 or earlier) who took the Arkansas adjuster exam and who are not licensed and required continuing education in their state of residence must complete continuing education in 2012.”

At the time of the notifications, Arkansas was unaware that Indiana had become a licensed state. If you are an adjuster living in the state of Indiana who is now a licensed resident adjuster in the state of Indiana, you will not be required to submit the Arkansas required continuing education, nor will you be required to pay the $20.00 Adjuster Continuing Education Filing Fee as noted on the renewal notice.

Arkansas is in the process of updating their licensing system to reflect Indiana as a licensed state. All non-licensed Arkansas adjusters who are now resident Indiana adjusters will only be required to meet the Indiana continuing education requirements. You can submit the notice you received from the state of Arkansas without the $20 CE filing fee.

I Have One License – How Do I Obtain More?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by adjusters.  Most insurance adjusters acquire a license in Texas or their home state.  Then, after gaining some experience, many claims adjusters choose to obtain licenses in other states.   

Step one – Make sure you have a home state license.  If the state you reside in does not require a license you can designate one state as your home state. Currently, the NIPR system only recognizes certain states as “designated home states.” You will want to check with the state in which you are applying to make sure they are considered a DHS with the NIPR system. Texas, recognized as a DHS, is a popular state to obtain a home-state license from if you live in a state that doesn’t require a license. Please note that in order to designate Texas as your home state you will be applying for a resident license even if you are not a resident of the state.

Step Two– Does the state where you want to do work require a license?  Today, 34 states require adjusters to hold licenses.  Click Here to see a list of those states.

Step Three – Does the state you want to do work in have reciprocity with the state in which you currently hold your home state license? To determine whether or not your state has reciprocity, you will want to contact your license manager or go to the state’s licensing website.  Look carefully at the requirements. In all cases you will still have to complete the application and pay the fees to acquire your license. 

Step Four– Apply for the license.  Go to the state’s online system and apply for the additional license. Again, you must make sure you have a home state or designated home state license to do the applications electronically. If you don’t have a home state or designated home state license, you will need to check with the state to see if you must submit a standard NAIC form, which can be found through NIPR, or if the state has their own form which you need to complete.

After the application is accepted and the fees paid, you will then be able to work in the state.

Xeneros simplifies the license management process for organizations and individuals.  For more information check out www.xeneros.net/

Adjuster Licensing Reciprocity Clarified

 

As most seasoned claims adjusters know, reciprocity means that once you obtain a license in one state, Texas, for example, you can then obtain licenses in other states that have ‘reciprocity’ with that state.  This means that meeting the credentials in one state (Passing the test, taking CEUs, etc) will allow you to obtain a license in a state that reciprocates. 

What a lot of insurance adjusters do not know is that you still need to obtain the license in that particular state.  For example, holding a Texas license does not allow you to automatically work claims in Mississippi (who has reciprocity with Texas).  To work claims in a state that has reciprocity you still need to obtain a Non-Resident License in that state. 

Here’s another catch.  If you live in a state that requires a license, you will most likely have to take your home states exam even if you hold a license in a state that they reciprocate with. They will not issue you a resident license based off another state’s exam. There are a very few states which will waive this requirement.

Feel free to reply to this post or contact me duane.weber@xeneros.net with additional questions. Claims adjuster licensing is a very complicated matter and we’re happy to help sort it out for you.

North Carolina Renewal Notice

North Carolina has made available instructions regarding the license renewal of self-employed adjusters.  Payments are due March 31st and must be paid online. 

You can download the instruction by following this link: http://bit.ly/zVMLie

If you’re looking for an easier way to manage you licenses, Xeneros can help. 

Claims Licensing News – February Edition


Here are some newsworthy items from the world of claims adjuster licensing. 
  • Oregon: Beginning May 7, 2012 the State of Oregon will begin using the SBS (State Based Systems) for all transactions. View the press release here: http://bit.ly/yUr8Tf 
  • Georgia:  now requires EVERY individual, corporation, partnership, or other business entity submitting a license application to submit a Citizenship Affidavit Form. The form can be found on the GA DOI website.  Download it here: http://bit.ly/ylOF1u
  • Indiana:  summarized the 2011 legislative changes, noting the change to birth month license renewals for licensed producers and adjusters. A copy of the document can be found here:  http://bit.ly/xLFZ9J