La. Lawmakers Closing in on Insurance Adjuster Licensing Bill

Insurance adjusters in Louisiana would be licensed and ruled by a comprehensive set of regulations, under bills nearing final legislative passage.

The legislation is in response to complaints among owners of damaged homes after Hurricane Katrina who said they were unable to get consistent and professional service.

The Department of Insurance would oversee the programs set up in the bills (House Bill 1384) by Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, and (House Bill 1056) by Rep. Rick Farrar, D-Pineville.

The Senate Insurance Committee approved the House-backed bills, sending them to the full Senate for debate.

Carter’s bill addresses public adjusters, who are retained by policyholders to help prepare and file insurance claims. Farrar’s bill addresses claims adjusters, including employees of insurance companies and independent adjusters who contract to work for insurers.

The bills contain provisions for exams, licensing and professional practice. An expedited process would kick in if adjusters flow in from out of state to help handle the workload after a major catastrophe. The new system would take effect June 30, 2007.

Disagreements within the adjuster industry have held up the legislation. The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters supports Carter’s bill, but several adjusters who spoke against the measure said it contains more rules than necessary to regulate the profession.