2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
August 12, 2019 - Introduced by Representatives Steffen, Ohnstad, Bowen,
Brooks, Dittrich, Doyle, Felzkowski, Fields, Goyke, Gundrum, Horlacher,
Krug, Kulp, Nygren, Ramthun, Skowronski, Spreitzer, Stubbs, Stuck, C.
Taylor, Vruwink, Duchow and Macco, cosponsored by Senators Feyen,
Bewley, Erpenbach, Miller, Olsen, Petrowski and Schachtner. Referred to
Committee on Insurance.
1An Act to amend
45.44 (1) (a) 18., 601.43 (1) (a) and 601.43 (1) (d); and to create
601.31 (1) (z), 601.31 (1) (zb), 601.31 (1) (zc) and chapter 629 of the statutes; 3relating to: regulation of public adjusters and granting rule-making
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill imposes registration and other requirements on an individual, known
as a public adjuster, who assists an insured person with a claim against the person's
insurance company for loss or damage to real or personal property that is located in
Under the bill, an individual may not perform services or solicit business as a
public adjuster unless he or she is registered with the Office of the Commissioner of
Insurance. In order to register with the commissioner, the individual must complete
an application that requires proof of good character and financial responsibility, pass
a written examination, and pay a fee. If the commissioner approves the application,
the registration is effective for two years and may be renewed if the individual fulfills
continuing education requirements. The commissioner may deny, suspend, revoke,
or refuse to renew a registration if the commissioner determines that the individual
has engaged in behavior that warrants the denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal.
Additionally, the commissioner may impose a civil penalty on the individual.
The bill requires a registered public adjuster to enter into a contract with the
insured before providing services to the insured. The contract must contain certain
provisions, including provisions that disclose the public adjuster's compensation and
the circumstances under which the insured may void the contract. The bill prohibits
the contract from containing provisions that impose collection costs and late fees on
the insured, require the insured to authorize the insurer to issue a check solely in the
public adjuster's name, or limit the insured's right to pursue civil remedies against
the public adjuster.
Under the bill, the public adjuster may not be paid prior to the insured receiving
payment from the insurer and, if the insurer pays the policy limit within five
business days from the date the loss is reported, the public adjuster may only be paid
a reasonable hourly rate for the time spent on the claim. Additionally, the public
adjuster's compensation may not exceed 10 percent of an insured's actual recovery
if the claim is due to a catastrophic disaster.
The bill imposes requirements on a public adjuster to address conflicts of
interest that may arise while working for the insured, including a requirement to
notify the insured if the public adjuster has a financial interest in, or may receive
compensation from, an entity working on the claim, such as a repair shop. The bill
also imposes other requirements and limitations on a public adjuster, including that
he or she must have the insured's written consent to agree to a settlement, may solicit
business only during certain hours of the day, and may not work as an adjuster for
an insurer or as an independent adjuster while registered as a public adjuster.
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
45.44 (1) (a) 18. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 18. A license, certificate, registration,
or permit issued under chs. 3
601 to 655.
601.31 (1) (z) of the statutes is created to read:
(z) For issuance of a registration as a public adjuster under s. 629.02 6
(2), an amount to be set by the commissioner by rule.
601.31 (1) (zb) of the statutes is created to read:
(zb) For each renewal of a public adjuster registration under s. 9
629.02 (4), an amount to be set by the commissioner by rule.
601.31 (1) (zc) of the statutes is created to read:
(zc) For registering for the public adjuster examination under s. 2
629.03 (1), an amount to be set by the commissioner by rule.
601.43 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Insurers, other licensees and other persons subject to regulation. 5
Whenever the commissioner deems it necessary in order to inform himself or herself 6
about any matter related to the enforcement of chs. 600 to 647, the commissioner may 7
examine the affairs and condition of any licensee, registrant,
or permittee under chs. 8
600 to 647 or applicant for a license, registration,
or permit, of any person or 9
organization of persons doing or in process of organizing to do an insurance business 10
in this state, and of any advisory organization serving any of the foregoing in this 11
601.43 (1) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
(d) Delivery of records to the office.
On order of the commissioner any 14
or permittee under chs. 600 to 647 shall bring to the office for 15
examination such records as the order reasonably requires.
Chapter 629 of the statutes is created to read:
. In this chapter:
“Adjusting service” means an act to assist an insured, in exchange for 21
compensation, with the preparation, completion, or filing of a first-party claim, 22
including by negotiating values, damages, or depreciation or by applying the loss 23
circumstances to insurance policy provisions.
“Compensation” means anything of value received directly or indirectly in 25
return for the performance of an adjusting service.
“First-party claim” means a claim for damage or loss to real or personal 2
property located in this state that is filed by an insured.
“Insured” means a person whose real or personal property is insured under 4
an insurance policy against which a claim is or will be made.
“Public adjuster” means an individual who is registered with the 6
commissioner under s. 629.02.
7629.02 Registration. (1) Requirement to register
. (a) No individual may 8
engage in any of the following activities unless the individual is registered as a public 9
adjuster under this section:
1. Perform, offer to perform, or publicly represent himself or herself as 11
performing an adjusting service with respect to a first-party claim.
2. Directly or indirectly solicit business, investigate or adjust losses, or advise 13
an insured about a first-party claim for a person engaged in the business of providing 14
an adjusting service.
(b) No person may utilize the adjusting services of an individual if the person 16
knows, or should know, that the individual is not registered under this section.
(c) A contract entered into in violation of this subsection is void.
An individual may apply for the registration required under 19
sub. (1) by completing a form prescribed by the commissioner. The form shall require 20
the individual to provide the individual's social security number and all 21
documentation the commissioner determines is necessary and appropriate. The 22
commissioner shall approve the individual's registration application if the 23
commissioner determines the individual satisfies all the following conditions:
(a) The individual has not committed any act that warrants the denial, 25
suspension, revocation, or nonrenewal of a registration under s. 629.13.
(b) The individual provides proof that he or she is trustworthy, reliable, 2
financially responsible, and of good reputation.
(c) The individual pays the fee under s. 601.31 (1) (z).
(d) The individual maintains a home office in the individual's state of residence 5
and is available to the public at that office through reasonable appointment hours 6
or regular business hours.
(e) The individual is at least 18 years of age.
(f) The individual meets the requirement of s. 629.03.
(g) The individual supplies a bond that meets specifications established by the 10
commissioner to guarantee faithful performance of the individual's duties and 11
obligations as a public adjuster.
(h) If the individual is not a resident of this state, the individual agrees to be 13
subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner and the courts of this state and to the 14
commissioner's rules and orders with service of process as provided under ss. 601.72 15
. Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following 17
(a) An attorney admitted to practice in this state while acting in the 19
professional capacity as an attorney.
(b) An individual who negotiates or settles claims arising under a life or 21
disability insurance policy or an annuity contract.
(c) An individual employed solely for the purpose of obtaining facts 23
surrounding a loss or furnishing technical assistance to a public adjuster, including 24
a photographer, estimator, private investigator, engineer, or handwriting expert.
(d) An individual who settles subrogation claims between insurers.
(e) An individual who is licensed as an intermediary under s. 628.04 or 628.09 2
while acting in the professional capacity as an intermediary.
. A registration under sub. (2) shall remain in effect for 2 years 4
from the date of issuance, unless it is revoked or suspended by the commissioner 5
under s. 629.13. An individual may renew a registration by submitting, prior to the 6
registration's expiration date, a request for renewal to the commissioner in the form 7
prescribed by the commissioner. The request shall include evidence of compliance 8
with s. 629.11 and payment of the fee under s. 601.31 (1) (zb). An individual who fails 9
to renew a registration prior to the expiration date may reapply for registration 10
under sub. (2).
11629.03 Examination. (1)
Prior to the commissioner approving an 12
individual's registration under s. 629.02 (2), the individual shall pass a written 13
examination that tests knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of a public 14
adjuster and the insurance laws and regulations of this state. The examination shall 15
be conducted as prescribed by the commissioner and require payment of the fee 16
under s. 601.31 (1) (zc). The commissioner may contract with an outside testing 17
service for administering the examination and collecting the fee.
An individual who is not a resident of this state and who is a licensed or 19
registered public adjuster in the individual's state of residence and was required to 20
pass a written examination to obtain that license or registration may request the 21
commissioner to accept proof of the examination's passage as fulfilling the 22
requirement under sub. (1). The commissioner may approve the request if the 23
individual's license or registration in that state is in good standing.
24629.04 Contract requirements. (1)
A public adjuster may not perform any 25
adjusting service for an insured prior to entering into a contract with the insured.
The contract shall be in writing, be titled “Public Adjuster Contract,” and be on a form 2
filed with the commissioner under s. 631.20 (1m). The contract shall include all of 3
(a) The public adjuster's full name, state of residence, permanent principal 5
business street address, telephone number, and registration number assigned by the 6
(b) The insured's full name, street address, insurer name, and policy number.
(c) A description of the loss and its location.
(d) The date and time the contract was signed by the public adjuster and the 10