Claims Adjuster Name Issue

Florida insurance attorneys know that insurance companies sometimes try to take advantage of consumers’ lack of sophistication or understanding and use that advantage to gain business or make more profit. This is why having an experienced insurance attorney in your corner can be helpful. Our insurance attorneys noticed an interesting story along those lines in the Insurance Journal this week about a case of an adjusting firm suing a blogger for claiming their name, United States Adjusting, was misleading.

The blogger works at Johnson Strategies, an insurance advocacy firm. The blogger, Scott Johnson, a principle in the firm and a former executive at the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, named United States Adjusting in a piece about an investigation into public adjusters dealing with claims from the state operated Citizens Property Insurance. In that post, he commented that United States Adjusting’s name “seems intended to make policyholders think they are with the government.” Now the company is threatening to sue him for damage to reputation if he does not remove the company’s name from the blog. So far Mr. Johnson says he will not comply, but that he will “look deeper, consult counsel, and eliminate any potential that I may have missed something” in terms of his due diligence in investigating for the blog post in question. He said that he had written about 400 blog posts in the last two years and had never had to issue a correction thus far.

Mr. Johnson notes that under Florida law, it is a crime to imply that material is distributed by a government entity, and under federal law it is prohibited to use “United States” by insurance organizations because it would be considered false advertising. He stated that this showed that the Florida legislature was concerned about misleading solicitations by insurance organizations like public adjusters, particularly after a serious natural disaster like a hurricane when people are confused and stressed by an incredibly difficult situation. Mr. Johnson also asserted that the writing in his blog is protected by free speech, and that argument has merit. Christian Camara, Florida director for the think tank R Street Institute, told the Insurance Journal that United States Adjusters attempt to override Mr. Johnson’s free speech is not likely to succeed.

If you feel cheated by an insurance company, agent, or adjuster, a Florida insurance attorney can help you understand whether or not you have a case and what your available legal options are. Our insurance attorneys have experience working for property owners who face insurance companies that refuse to pay the benefits when they are needed. And it is important to remember that if you proceed with a case, under Florida law, if you succeed, the attorney’s fees will automatically be the responsibility of the insurance company. This means that no matter how big or small your claim, if you win your case, you get to keep the entire award and the insurance company will pay all of your lawyer’s fees. Contact the Luckman Law Office as soon as possible for a free consultation.

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