Hurricane season brings about a time of uncertainty regarding financial and physical safety. Unfortunately, those in Florida know firsthand that a powerful storm can cause catastrophic property damage. Once the hurricane is over, the process of damage assessment and clean-up begins. A public adjuster can be an invaluable ally when it is time to assess the damage and rebuild.
Public adjusters are defined as any person, aside from an attorney, who, for money, commission, or any other thing of value, prepares, completes, or files an insurance claim form for an insured individual. The term can also refer to someone who acts on behalf of a third-party claimant in negotiating the settlement of a claim. They are insurance professionals who are not associated with an insurance company and are instead hired by insured individuals to help with all aspects of the claims process.
Unlike public adjusters, independent adjusters represent an insurance company and will not work for a private customer. Independent adjusters focus on the best interests of the company they represent, as opposed to customers, which is why public adjusters are so important to the general public when disaster strikes.
The Florida Department of Financial Services requires public adjusters to meet several requirements prior to obtaining a license.
How do I become a licensed Florida public adjuster?
Florida public adjusters have to provide a number of materials when applying for a Florida public adjuster license. Any individual looking to work as a Florida public adjuster will need to complete the following steps before handling insurance claims:
Step 1: Meet the state’s requirements
To be eligible for a Florida public adjuster license, you must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Florida (or maintain a principal place of business in Florida), and a United States citizen or legal alien who possesses a work authorization from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services. You must hold a license in Florida as an all-lines adjuster and have been appointed on a continual basis for the previous six months as a public adjuster apprentice, an independent adjuster, or a company employee adjuster. Keep in mind that you may not hold a resident license in another state.
Step 2: File a public adjuster surety bond
Purchase a surety bond in the amount of $50,000 and file it with the Department using its bond form, DFS-H2-72. At SuretyBonds.com, you can get bonded instantly for $500. Once you’re bonded, mail your public adjuster bond to the Bureau of Licensing at the following address:
Department of Financial Services
Bureau of Licensing, Room 419
200 East Gaines St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0319
Step 3: Submit an application
Next, complete and submit an online application. This step includes payment of a $50 application fee and a $5 license ID fee. You’ll create a MyProfile account on the Department’s website and use your account not only to apply, but also to view and print your license, examine deficiencies on a pending application, learn about continuing education information, make an address change, and more.
Step 4: Send in your fingerprints
Fingerprinting is a mandatory requirement for obtaining a Florida public adjuster license. Submit your fingerprints through IdentoGO by Idemia. You can use LiveScan to submit electronically or use fingerprint cards to submit by mail. By submitting fingerprints, you are consenting to a criminal history background check as part of the licensing process. Submitting fingerprints comes with a fee of $48.05.
Step 5: Pass the Florida public adjuster exam
Upon approval of your application, you’ll receive instructions from the Department about scheduling your exam. Visit PearsonVUE’s website for a list of test centers that allow you to schedule your examination date and time. Note that a $44 examination fee is due upon scheduling. The exam contains 85 scored questions, plus 15 pre-test questions, with a time limit of two hours. The exam content can be found in the examination outline.
Once you’ve passed the exam, an email will direct you to your MyProfile account, where you can print out your license. If you’ve already passed an exam prior to licensure, you have one year from the passing date to apply for a license. (Disregard this step if you are not required to take an exam.)
Watch the video below for a summary of the steps involved in the Florida public adjuster licensing process.
How much does it cost to apply for a license?
There are several fees associated with obtaining a Florida public adjuster license:
- $50 application fee
- $5 license ID fee
- $48.05 fingerprint fee
- $44 state examination fee
- $60 appointment fee
- $250 education fee (continuing education requirement: 24 hours due biennially by end of licensee’s birth month)
The cost of a Florida public adjuster bond is $500 for $50,000 of coverage, meaning the total cost to apply for a license is $647.05. However, applicants may be exempt from the $50 fee if they or their spouse are members of the United States Armed Forces or if they have retired from the military within the past 24 months.
More information on additional fees that vary from applicant to applicant can be found by visiting the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services’ website.
Where should the license application be submitted?
Applicants will need to submit their Florida public adjuster applications through the Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Licensing online portal.
Once all the requirements have been satisfied, the Department will send your approval via email. You are free to print copies of your license as you wish.
Where do I get a Florida public adjuster surety bond?
If you’re ready to purchase a Florida public adjuster bond, visit SuretyBonds.com! Your $50,000 bond can be purchased instantly online for just $500 — no underwriting required. You can also speak to a surety expert 7 AM-7 PM CST, Monday through Friday, by calling 1 (800) 308-4358.