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COMMISSIONER'S BULLETIN # B-0039-08

July 24, 2008


To: ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES, CORPORATIONS, EXCHANGES, MUTUALS, RECIPROCALS, ASSOCIATIONS, LLOYDS, OR OTHER INSURERS WRITING PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS, INCLUDING WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE; PREMIUM FINANCE COMPANIES; AGENTS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND ADJUSTERS; AND THE PUBLIC GENERALLY


Re: Hurricane Dolly - An Extraordinary Event Claims Adjusting for Hurricane Victims or Evacuees

On July 22, 2008, Governor Rick Perry issued a proclamation declaring a disaster due to the effects of Tropical Storm Dolly, certifying that Tropical Storm Dolly poses a threat of imminent disaster to Aransas, Bexar, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Willacy counties beginning July 22, 2008, and directing that all necessary measures both public and private as authorized under §418.017 of the Texas Government Code be implemented to meet that threat. The proclamation also states that, as provided in §418.016 of the Texas Government Code, all rules and regulations that may inhibit or prevent prompt response to this threat are suspended for the duration of the incident.

In the current disaster circumstances, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reminds carriers that Insurance Code §§4101.002(b) and 4101.101 authorize carriers to immediately use nonresident and emergency adjusters to handle claims. These provisions are discussed further at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/agemeradj.html.

Tropical Storm Dolly made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. With the possible relocation of hurricane victims and other personal hardships sustained by residents of Aransas, Bexar, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Willacy counties, the Texas Department of Insurance encourages carriers to use all available means to provide prompt and immediate relief to those residents and policyholders.

Additionally, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reminds all persons, including building and repair contractors, that Texas Insurance Code Chapter 4102 requires all persons acting as public insurance adjusters to be licensed by the department. The Insurance Code provides for both civil and criminal penalties for violating this licensing requirement.

Insurance Code §4102.001(3) defines a public insurance adjuster as:

(A) a person who, for direct, indirect, or any other compensation:

(1) acts on behalf of an insured in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property; or

(2) on behalf of any other public insurance adjuster, investigates, settles, or adjusts or advises or assists an insured with a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property; or

(B) a person who advertises, solicits business, or holds himself or herself out to the public as an adjuster of claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property.

Further, Insurance Code §4102.158 prohibits public insurance adjusters from participating directly or indirectly in the reconstruction, repair, or restoration of damaged property that is the subject of a claim adjusted by the license holder or engaging in any other activities that may reasonably be construed as presenting a conflict of interest, including soliciting or accepting any remuneration from, or having a financial interest in, any salvage firm, repair firm, or other firm that obtains business in connection with any claim the licensee has a contract or agreement to adjust.

Contractors are not listed among the persons exempt from the licensing requirement in Insurance Code §4102.002.

Chapter 4102 does not prohibit contractors from providing estimates or discussing those estimates and other technical information with an insurer or its adjuster.

Additional information regarding public insurance adjusters, including fees public insurance adjusters are allowed to charge for services, is available on the department's website at:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/agpubadj2.html.

Questions regarding this bulletin may be directed to the Licensing Division at (512) 305-8197 or the Enforcement Division at (512) 305-7239 or the Fraud Unit at (512) 463-6492.

Mike Geeslin

Commissioner of Insurance



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