Property Insurance Roundtable

The Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA)

05.02.2017

To quote Robert Baker’s published piece on the Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA), “The unlicensed practice of public adjusting is a vehicle of consumer fraud that preys on some of the most vulnerable elements of our society. The disaster-stricken, the elderly, the unsophisticated and those for whom English is a second language. Individuals losses range from a couple of thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. And frequently, victims are left without a remedy, because UPPA offenders just disappear or are not worth suing.”

Key Takeaways

  • [01:52] What is the unauthorized practice of public adjusting and how and when did it start?
  • [05:46] How did the practice of UPPA develop and get worse over time?
  • [10:00] Do insurance agents ever assist in claims and does it cause confusion?
  • [13:19] How prevalent is the problem and are some states worse than others?
  • [15:25] In terms of dollars, what does this practice cost policyholders and/or the insurance industry?
  • [22:18] What has been done to counteract this practice and who is doing it?
  • [25:42] How are the insurance industry and public adjusters united in addressing this issue?
  • [27:35] Have insurance companies taken a position on this topic?
  • [32:08] Once claims have been settled, do homeowners have any recourse?
  • [34:14] Real world examples of unlawful public adjusting activity.
  • [38:28] Recommended resources for home and building owners who may experience the illegal activity.
  • [40:00] What is being done to educate consumers about this issue?
  • [42:04] Additional thoughts from the panel.
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Panelists

Arthur T. Jansen, SPPA, CEO of Jansen/Adjusters International, is a licensed public adjuster and a passionate advocate for policyholders. Art manages a professional staff of public adjusters, structural estimators and contents specialists who work together in solving the numerous challenges associated with recovery after a property disaster. His team has earned the reputation of leading business owners and families through the process of proper claim preparation, presentation, and negotiation.

A past president of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) and the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (TAPIA), Art has been a driving force in advocating against the unauthorized practice of public adjusting and has participated in dozens of meetings with regulators and legislators across the country to further this cause. He is also one of only two public adjusters to sit on the Texas Department of Insurance’s newly created Adjuster Advisory Board.

Art Studied Business Management at Sam Houston State University and is a member of both the Coastal Conservation Association and Ducks Unlimited. He has also been honored by the State of Tennessee’s House of Representatives with an outstanding achievement proclamation and received the Better Business Bureau’s Award for Excellence.

Art has been featured as an expert panelist on Adjusters International’s Property Insurance Roundtable podcast in the episode titled, “The Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA): Affecting Insurance Companies and Policyholders Alike.”

Jim Beneke is a strong and effective advocate for commercial property owners in the aftermath of a devastating property loss. A third-generation public adjuster, he has a reputation for honesty and integrity in negotiating a fair and proper insurance settlement for his clients.

Jim’s grandfather founded A.C. Beneke & Company in New York in 1927. With the 1965 launch of The Beneke Company in Dallas, Jim’s dad R.G. Beneke introduced public adjusting to Texas and the Southwest. Twenty years later, The Beneke Company was an integral part in creating and organizing Adjusters International, a corporation of the nation’s leading public adjusting firms that serve clients around the world. In 1990, Jim brought The Beneke Company/Adjusters International to Austin where he still serves clients nationwide and keeps a close eye on the University of Texas Longhorns.

Jim’s 36 years of experience, combined with this rich family tradition, shapes his knowledge and deep appreciation for the history and growth of the public adjusting profession. He has maintained long-term relationships with clients, insurance company representatives and their experts, and others he has worked with over the years. These relationships often benefit clients that are experiencing significant property loss for the first time.

But it’s not all about what he has done in the past. Through continuing education and involvement with professional organizations and government and regulatory agencies, Jim is also well-versed on trends, laws, and other influences that shape today’s public adjusting industry. In 2003, he led the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters’ (TAPIA) successful legislative effort resulting in Texas’ first public adjuster licensing law. He worked closely with the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on the creation of a model licensing act for public adjusters. Completed in October of 2005, the model act is now the law in fifteen states and is the basis of legislation in the few remaining states that do not license public adjusters.

Jim has been featured as an expert panelist on Adjusters International’s Property Insurance Roundtable podcast in the episodes titled, “Hail Damage Can Create Difficult Insurance Claims,” “Debris Removal and Pollution Damage” and “The Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA).”

Brian Goodman is a trial lawyer and principal at the firm. He represents clients in the defense of civil claims, including serious personal injury and products liability claims. Brian also represents churches and other religious institutions in the defense of sexual misconduct claims. In addition to his active trial practice, Brian represents a national insurance-industry trade association in regulatory and licensing matters, and, as such, has been and continues to be very active with the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners). He lectures extensively for continuing education credit in numerous states on first-party property insurance matters and authored a chapter in the ABA book on First Party Property Litigation.

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Steve Badger
Attorney/Senior Partner

Steve represents the commercial property insurance industry, both as a plaintiff in large loss catastrophe subrogation matters and as a defendant in coverage matters involving roofing and other construction issues.

A highlight of Steve’s career was his work on a $5 billion subrogation action arising from the 9/11 Terrorist Attack. Leading the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee, Steve was involved in directing all aspects of the action on behalf of the entire group of property damage plaintiffs. The litigation was recently settled for $1.2 billion, reportedly the largest subrogation recovery ever obtained by the insurance industry.

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C. Todd Thomas
Vice President of Risk Management

Todd Thomas is the Vice President at Adjusters International (AI) and Tidal Basin (TB). He is also the Chief Consultant and Partner of Adjusters International’s affiliate Sigma Consulting Corp. He has worked in the Management Consulting industry for 23 years. Currently, he works with AI and TB's strategic partners to offer the highest quality Risk Management and Disaster Recovery consulting services possible. Thomas has worked in a management capacity on high-profile FEMA, insurance and construction projects since 1996. Thomas regularly serves as an expert witness and Special Master to courts in the area of finance & insurance.

Thomas’ experience assisting public entities, non-profits and other organizations with risk management and insurance includes but is not limited to broker selection, insurance marketing, total cost of risk, risk identification, risk allocation, underwriting, claims, financial risk management, FEMA obtain & maintain compliance, risk analysis, risk management information systems and enterprise risk management.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Financial Management (FAAFM), Member of the American Economic Association, Member of the Association of Certified Chartered Economists, a Fellow of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Member of the Global Risk and Insurance Management Institute, Caribbean Actuarial Association and Member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Todd is a Chartered Economist (ChE), Certified Risk Analyst (CRA), Certified Organizational Risk Manager (CORM), RIMS Fellow (RF), Fellow of Risk Management (FRM), Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management specializing in Public Entities (ARM-P), Master Project Manager (MPM), Accredited Financial Analysis (AFA), Accredited Management Accountant (AMA) and Workers Compensation Claims Law Specialist (WCLS).

Moderator

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Brianna Moyer
Digital Marketing Manager & Website Administrator

Brianna Moyer joined the Adjusters International team in 2014 as the Social Media Specialist and was promoted to Digital Marketing Manager and Website Administrator. Brianna collaborates with AI’s nationwide firms to create robust social media campaigns while assisting the firms with updates to their websites regarding new search engine optimization techniques, content, imagery, the latest technology, and more. She regularly reports to management and the firms while measuring the effectiveness of different strategies. Brianna monitors the latest trends in social media and web design to keep AI on the cutting edge.

Since joining Adjusters International, Brianna has introduced new media ventures such as a podcast series titled, Property Insurance Roundtable and producing video clips. Ms. Moyer writes content for the websites which include blogs, web news stories, and landing pages. She has also been instrumental in creating Standard Operating Procedures for various AI initiatives such as trade shows and disaster plan protocols.

Prior to joining Adjusters International, Brianna worked as an Assistant Business Manager and Sales Assistant at Townsquare Media. In her free time, she pursues freelancing opportunities as a graphic designer and website developer.