Unlawful Practice of Public Adjusting

October 12, 2022


Few laws have had such a significant impact on the workflow and business model for construction companies dealing with insurance claims as the Unlawful Practice of Public Adjusting (“UPPA”)has had. With a wide berth of interpretation, and consequences that can bankrupt a company, theUPPA must be considered in all aspects of your company.The expanded UPPA laws went into effect on September 1, 2019 and case law continues to be developed as to its interpretation. A violation of the law is more than a mere slap on the wrist. In fact, some courts have granted class-action style expansions of lawsuits forcing construction-companies divulge up to 10-years worth of past clients to opposing counsel. Those former clients can then be questioned as to whether the construction company stated, acted, or worked in any capacity as a public adjuster with regards to their insurance claim. This alone can raise damages from a mere single $10,000 case to potentially millions or more and the damages can include upto the full claimed amount of the insurance payout. This alone should give pause to anyone taking on insurance claims in Texas.So how can a company protect itself from a UPPA claim. First, know what NOT to do. Review your contracts, website, and advertisements for any language that state you can work with/against insurance companies or that you are an expert in insurance claims. Train your salesman to refrain from such language when talking to client. Some keys words to be aware of with regards to how help the client with claims or insurance companies include: Negotiate, Appraise, Agreed Amounts of Payout, Fight, Advise, Policy Experts or Interpretation.So what can a company do with regards to a claim and clients? Construction companies are experts in their respective fields, so hone in on that. Companies can document a claim and assess damages; investigate whether a warranty has been voided due to damage; state an option with regards to the effects of the damages and the longevity of the damaged product including whether the life of the product has been adversely lessened due to the damage; document storm dates and data regarding weather events; price repairs and or replacements for the damaged property. These are the areas at well within a construction companies expertise and should not give rise to a UPPA violation.If you have questions or concerns regarding UPPA, or other construction related matters, please contract our office for reviews of your process and documentation so ensure that you do not run into any problems in the future.

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