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March 31, 2023
The Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that public insurance adjusters cannot act simultaneously as adjuster and appraiser on the same claim, upholding a previous decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals earlier this year.
The decision, handed down on Thursday, rejected an attempt by Naples resident Jon Parrish to allow George Keys of Keys Claim Consultants as his appraiser and his adjuster in a claim he filed after his home was damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The firm stood to gain 10 percent of whatever amount State Farm granted Parrish, so State Farm asked a trial court to rule that Keys could not be allowed to serve in both roles since he stood to gain a profit and could not be a disinterested party.
“The insurance contract requires each side to select someone who has no self-interest, including financial interest, in the appraisal,” wrote a State Farm spokesperson in an email to Insurance Journal.
Parrish’s legal team argued that “over 25 years of uninterrupted case law” allowed “public adjusters to serve as the appraiser for the insured who hired them,” but the court disagreed, siding with State Farm. Upon appeal, the state Supreme Court solidified the previous ruling. “Finding no way around the plain meaning of the word ‘disinterested,’ we approve the 2nd District’s decision below and hold that an appraiser cannot be ‘disinterested’ if he or she, or a firm in which he or she has an interest, is to be compensated for services as a public adjuster with a contingency fee,” wrote the judges in the 5-1 decision.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: INSURANCE JOURNAL