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Hurricane Isaac Licensing Update: Mississippi

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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

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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.