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.