Assembly bill aims to protect homeowners from being overcharged by public adjusters

TRENTON – An Assembly lawmaker says he wants to cap the amount public adjusters can charge homeowners seeking insurance claim assistance in times of emergency.

Assemblyman Jerry Green, (D-22), announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation he says will prevent homeowners from being overcharged by public adjusters charged with appraising their insurance claims. Green said the proposal comes after hearing numerous complaints of price gouging in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Price gouging claims rose during a meeting with Union City homeowners who were affected by the storm, he said.

“Public adjusters are supposed to represent and look out for the best interests of the homeowner, but according to these residents, some of these adjusters were charging up to 40 to 50 percent of what the insurance company was to pay eventually,” Green said in a statement.

“This is a crime,” he said, adding, “Unfortunately, there is nothing currently in the books to prevent these individuals from taking advantage of these homeowners.”

Green’s bill would prohibit adjusters from charging in excess of 10 percent of the amount paid out by the insurer for claims based on events that are the result of a catastrophic loss occurrence, according to the lawmaker.

Catastrophic loss occurrences are designated by the President of the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the governor or State Office of Emergency Management in the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

Assembly bill aims to protect homeowners from being overcharged by public adjusters