Ginal Rides to Rescue of Wildfire Victims

(Feb. 8) – The House gave preliminary approval today to a bill by Rep. Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins) to protect Coloradans victimized by wildfires or other disasters from being taken to the cleaners by their insurance adjusters.

Public insurance adjusters are freelancers, mostly from out of state, who flock to areas hit by disasters. The Waldo Canyon and High Park fires made Colorado a major destination for public adjusters in 2012, but when they come to this state they are not subject to Colorado’s regulations.

Homeowners who lost property in the Waldo Canyon fire have reported exorbitant charges by public adjusters — up to 30 percent of the amount of the insurance settlement. The state Division of Insurance  has received 15 complaints of fraud by public adjusters in Colorado in just the last three months, but under current law, the agency is largely powerless to take action.

HB13-1062 subjects public adjusters to the laws and standards applied to insurance agents licensed in this state, and sets caps on their compensation. Similar laws are on the books in 43 states.

“The proposed legislation is a pro-consumer protection bill that reasonably balances the interests and the needs of consumers, public adjusters and the Division of Insurance,” Rep. Ginal told the House before its voice vote in favor of the bill.

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