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California Senate Bill 488: What It Means for Your Property Damage Claim

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If you have a residential or commercial property insurance policy, you are directly affected by Senate Bill 488. It’s important to understand what it is, and why it matters for you.

 

What Is Senate Bill 488?

 

Senate Bill 488 is an amendment to the California Public Insurance Adjusters Act.

Until 2017, the California Public Insurance Adjusters act made insurance brokers, attorneys and select others exempt from needing a license to act as a public adjuster. In addition, many other entities have long been representing policyholders under a wrongly assumed exemption from licensure.

This issue of unauthorized practice of public adjusting has come under scrutiny in recent years as the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) has been working diligently to educate regulators, Attorneys General, and the general public about the pervasive and dangerous practice of unauthorized public adjusting.

Without proper training, licensing, regulation and supervision, policyholders can be victimized in the emotional aftermath of a disaster.

But, thanks to a move by state insurance departments to protect policyholders by enacting more regulations, Senate Bill 488 was passed.

The new legislation includes new fee limitations, more stringent restrictions following wildfires and other disasters, and most notably, who can rightfully and legally advocate or act in any meaningful capacity for the policyholder following an insured first party event.

 

What Does It Mean for You?

As a policyholder, property damage is a very real threat—especially in California, where the risk of wildfires is ever increasing. Senate Bill 488, is a measured approach to protect vulnerable policyholders during a disaster from aggressive solicitations by underqualified parties.

The new language and intent of California’s state law means post-disaster advocacy for you. It means protection and assurance that anyone acting as a public adjuster on your behalf without a license may now face legal repercussions.

 

Want To Learn More?

Interested in exploring the historical context and ramifications of the new law and how it applies specifically to insurance brokers, accounting firms, property managers and contractors?

Read our detailed white paper What does California Senate Bill 488 mean for post-disaster advocacy for 2017 and beyond?  written by Steve Severaid. It will give you a close look at the history of those who can represent insureds legally and exposes those who can't—but sometimes do anyway.