On June 11, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB76 into law. SB76 creates Florida Statute section 489.147 (contractor prohibitions) and amends Florida Statute section 626.854 (public adjuster prohibitions), both of which apply to residential homeowners.
Florida Statute section 489.147 prohibits contractors, and anyone acting on behalf of a contractor, from:
- Advertising in any manner that would encourage or induce a homeowner to contact a contractor or a public adjuster to make an insurance claim for roof damage regardless of whether the advertisement is delivered in person or by electronic or physical delivery to a specific person. This includes, but is not limited to door hangers, business cards, magnets, flyers, pamphlets or emails.
- Offering homeowners anything of value in exchange for allowing the contactor to: (1) inspect the homeowner’s roof; or (2) make an insurance claim for roof damage. This includes rebates, coupons, deductible waivers and gifts of any kind.
- Offering, delivering or receiving referral fees for any services related to insurance claims.
- Interpreting insurance policies, offering advice as to coverage or a homeowner’s duties after loss, or adjusting a claim on behalf of the homeowner unless the contractor is a licensed public adjuster under Chapter 626 of the Florida Statutes.
- Providing a contract to a homeowner without first providing a good faith estimate of the itemized cost of services and materials for repairs if the work is subject to an insurance claim. The actual cost of repairs is allowed to differ from the estimate as a result of the claims adjustment process.
Any violation of the foregoing prohibitions either by a contractor or someone acting on a contractor’s behalf may result in the contractor being fined up to $10,000 per occurrence. For purposes of this provision, a person acting on a contractor’s behalf is anyone (employee or nonemployee) that is compensated for soliciting work for the contractor.
Florida Statutes section 489.147 also requires that all contracts with residential property owners for repair or replacement of a roof include a notice provision stating:
Florida law prohibits contractors and those acting on the contractor’s behalf from offering residential property owners a rebate, gift, gift card, cash, coupon, waiver of any insurance deductible, or any other thing of value in exchange for allowing the contractor to conduct an inspection of the residential property owner’s roof or making an insurance claim for damage to the residential property owner’s roof.
Any contract that fails to include the foregoing provision may be voided by the homeowner within 10 days of execution.
Amended Florida Statutes section 626.854(15) prohibits licensed contractors and subcontractors from advertising, soliciting, offering to handle, handling, or performing public adjuster services without a license. The prohibition does not prohibit a contractor from recommending a homeowner consider contacting his or her insurer to determine if the proposed repair is covered by insurance.
New Florida Statutes section 626.854(20) prohibits public adjusters, public adjuster apprentices or those acting on a public adjuster’s behalf from offering any kind of financial incentive to a homeowner in exchange for: (1) allowing a roof inspection to be performed by a public adjuster, public adjuster apprentice or anyone else acting on the public adjuster’s behalf or a contractor; or (2) making an insurance claim for roof damage. This new section also prohibits a public adjuster from offering or accepting consideration for referring services related to a roof claim. Each violation subjects the public adjuster or public adjuster apprentice to a fine of up to $10,000. Any unlicensed person not otherwise exempt from public adjuster licensure acting in violation of 626.854(20) is guilty of the unlicensed practice of public adjusting and may be subject to a $10,000 fine for each violation and the criminal penalty for unlicensed activity.