House Passes Ginal’s Bill Helping Wildfire Victims

(Feb. 11) – Rep. Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins) won final House passage of her first bill today when the chamber voted 38-26 in favor of her measure to protect Coloradans victimized by wildfires or other disasters from being fleeced by public insurance adjusters.

Public insurance adjusters are a roving band of freelancers, mostly from out of state, who descend on areas hit by disasters, e.g., last year’s High Park and Waldo Canyon fires. They act on behalf of policy holders who suffer property losses. Problem is, they are not subject to Colorado’s regulations.

Homeowners who lost property in the High Park fire have reported exorbitant charges by public adjusters — up to 30 percent of the amount of the insurance settlement. But the state Division of Insurance is largely powerless to take action.

HB13-1062 subjects public insurance 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.

“I’m happy to have bipartisan support for this reasonable and long-overdue piece of consumer protection legislation,” Rep. Ginal said after the vote.

Reps. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen) and Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) broke ranks with the Republican majority, which voted to support the insurance industry over hard-hit Colorado homeowners.

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