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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.