Alabama Public Adjusters
With forty-four states providing for the licensing and regulation of public adjusters why has “The Cotton State” not allowed people in our profession to work as an Alabama Public Adjuster… and doesn’t this increase the potential for a bad insurance settlement for the citizens of Alabama? It’s a good question and a fair one at that.
While it may be unfortunate that a “public adjuster” cannot help someone with their claim it really does not matter. Why? Because every policy that I’ve read in Alabama includes a provision (written into the policy by the insurance company I might add) that provides a clearly defined process for resolving issues concerning “how much” the insurance company should pay for the repairs or reconstruction of a property they are insuring.
This process is called appraisal and is similar to mediation and arbitration in that it is an alternative dispute resolution format put in place to prevent expensive and time consuming lawsuits. The appraisal clause was inserted into policies years ago because no one thought it wise to leave filing a lawsuit as the only option for a policyholder who has received a low settlement offer.
Brian Goodman, Esq. and counsel for The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters has been working with the powers-that-be in Alabama to come up with some legislation that would model the law that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends for the licensing and regulation of public adjusting. This could all happen sooner rather than later but there is no definite timetable as of now.
But, again, whether public adjusting is allowed in Alabama or not the people of that fine state still have a very effective tool already built-in to their policies that can remedy the issues surrounding a low settlement offer… and it’s called appraisal.