A Florida appeals court decided this month that public adjusters cannot also work as an appraiser in disputes over claims when their total fees are more than the statutory limit.

Under Section 626.854 of the Florida Statutes, the cap is 10% of a settlement on public adjusters’ fees for up to a year after a declared state of emergency and more than 20% in cases not involving declared states of emergency.

“To have the same party that’s getting paid by the policyholder also making the determination of estimated costs is in our eyes a very clear conflict of interest,” said Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute (III). “If they’re working for the policy holder or the insured under a contingency fee agreement, they’re not a disinterested party, meaning clearly, they can’t be objective.”

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