With hurricane season in full swing in the United States, property claims are one of many obstacles residents face following a major storm. Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on North Carolina’s coast later this week, meaning property claims are likely going to surge in the Mid-Atlantic region. Once the immediate danger of the strong storm passes, residents will be faced with the reality of replacing property, which can go on for weeks after the hurricane has ended.
According to CNN, Hurricane Florence is predicted to cause historic damage in North Carolina and surrounding areas. For residents in the path of this massive storm, it will be more important than ever for individuals to have access to a public insurance adjuster.
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is urging residents of the state to “prepare now” in an effort to ensure their insurance policies are in place as the storm approaches. Causey recommends that individuals not only review insurance policies to ensure they are properly covered in the event of property loss, but also to evaluate belongings in the home in case of damage from wind or flooding that results in the insured needing to file a claim.
What does a public adjuster do?
Public adjusters are insurance professionals who are not associated with an insurance company. Public adjusters are 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 and thus are not necessarily working to provide customers with the most money for their claims after an incident.
Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 58-33A-10, individuals must obtain a North Carolina public adjuster license using the National Insurance Producer Registry before conducting any business operations as an adjuster in the State of North Carolina. All adjusters must be at least 18 years old, successfully complete a Pearson VUE insurance exam if a resident of the state, pay all applicable fees and include proof of $20,000 surety bond. The cost of a $20,000 public adjuster surety bond in North Carolina is $100 and no credit check is required.
All public insurance adjuster bonds ensure licensees adhere to all provisions of North Carolina General Statute 58-33A-50. Specifically, the required $20,000 surety bond authorizes recovery by the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of North Carolina on behalf of any person who suffers damage as the result of the adjuster’s erroneous acts, failure to act, conviction of fraud or conviction of unfair practices made against an individual.
Check out the graphic below for a summarized list of North Carolina public adjuster license requirements.
Preparing for the examination
To receive a public adjuster license in North Carolina, an individual must pass the Pearson VUE insurance exam. The exam can be scheduled at the Pearson VUE website, using the exam titled: InsNC-PAdj36: NC Public Adjuster, and taken at a variety of testing centers across the state. Those taking the exam must be prepared to provide two forms of signature-bearing information, one of which must be a government federal or state issued ID. Taking the Pearson VUE insurance exam costs a total of $207, which includes all fees needed to register for the public adjuster test. The North Carolina insurance exam comprised of 150 questions covers a wide range of topics with the intent to “reflect the laws, statutes, rules, and regulations for the practice of insurance in North Carolina.” Interested individuals can also find practice exams on the Pearson VUE website.
The cost of getting a license
Several fees are associated with attaining a public adjuster license in North Carolina. The North Carolina state fees to get a public adjuster license include a $75 license fee, $50 registration fee and a $44 application fee, costing a total of $169. There is also a transactional fee of $6.18 associated with receiving a non-resident public adjuster license through the National Insurance Producer Registry.
Submitting to a background check
Those that receive a license must maintain a place of residence in North Carolina, as well as provide a complete set of fingerprints for a background check. Fingerprints must be provided to the Commissioner of North Carolina within 30 days of applying for the public adjuster license. Applicants will be able to provide fingerprints via an email sent by the National Insurance Producer Registry after a completed application is received by the state.
Emergency Public Adjusters
Once an individual has met all of the requirements to receive a public adjuster license, there are certain guidelines to be followed in North Carolina. In the case of a catastrophic storm, all licensed public adjusters are required to show identification before being granted access to a declared disaster area. According to North Carolina General Statute 58-33-70 (e), the North Carolina Department of Insurance Commissioner may declare experienced individuals, licensed as public adjusters in other states, may come into the state to do emergency adjustment work so long as catastrophic claims are being made.
Need to get your North Carolina public adjuster surety bond?
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