The Florida Affiliation of Public Insurance coverage Adjusters (FAPIA) just lately celebrated its thirtieth Anniversary with a splendid gala. The occasion honored a number of distinguished policyholder advocates, together with Amy Bach from United Policyholders, Doug Quinn of the American Policyholders Affiliation, and Tasha Carter, the appointed Florida Insurance coverage Shopper Advocate. The dinner was a smashing success, utterly offered out, and so excessive in demand that some hopeful attendees have been turned away on the pink carpet entrance.
I had the privilege of talking at this momentous event, reflecting on my function in founding FAPIA and sharing my imaginative and prescient for its future. What struck me most was the unimaginable progress we’ve made as a company. What started as a small cadre of public adjusters has blossomed right into a full-fledged convention, boasting over 600 attendees and a lavish gala, in contrast to something I’ve witnessed since I started attending public adjuster occasions in 1985.
A considerable portion of the credit score for FAPIA’s success should go to Nancy Dominguez. She has served as FAPIA’s “good shepherd,” steering the group together with her collaborative management and indomitable perseverance. Nancy has been instrumental in molding FAPIA into an impactful group that hosts partaking and academic occasions eagerly anticipated by its members.
Success in any endeavor not often happens by probability. Within the case of FAPIA, its present accomplishments can largely be attributed to the steadfast dedication and fervour of Nancy Dominguez. She’s a humble chief, deeply dedicated to the mission and work of public adjusters.
Right here is my interview:
May you stroll us by your journey from changing into a licensed public adjuster in 1999 to your present function as Managing Director of FAPIA? What motivated the transition?
In 1999, I launched into a outstanding profession as a public adjuster. For the earlier 15 years, I had devoted my life as a paralegal, working diligently alongside attorneys to serve the authorized wants of shoppers. It was a rewarding journey, one stuffed with advanced instances, authorized intricacies, and a robust sense of justice.
Throughout my years as a paralegal, I witnessed quite a few instances involving insurance coverage claims. I witnessed the struggles that policyholders confronted when looking for truthful compensation for his or her losses. A lot of them discovered themselves in an uphill battle in opposition to highly effective insurance coverage corporations, navigating a fancy and infrequently overwhelming course of on their very own. I used to be deciding whether or not I ought to research to turn out to be an lawyer and, hopefully, a companion on the agency I used to be working for when a pal informed me about public adjusting. On the time, I had by no means heard of a public adjuster, which is humorous for the reason that present incarnation of my profession is all about being an vital useful resource for public adjusters and serving to them in each approach doable by FAPIA.
In 2004, I joined FAPIA and have become concerned within the Public Relations Committee and the Legislative Committee. Two years later, I used to be requested to be on the Board. I used to be slated to be the second feminine and the primary Hispanic particular person to turn out to be President of FAPIA. In 2011, after I was FAPIA’s President-Elect, our Managing Director resigned. President Pat Cuccaro and the Board needed to discover somebody to run FAPIA on a brief foundation. I agreed to tackle the function.
Whereas doing so, I modified and up to date most of the affiliation’s methods to supply basis for the following Managing Director. Only a few months earlier than I used to be to turn out to be President, the Board requested me to tackle the place completely. The caveat was that I couldn’t be President and Managing Director on the similar time as a result of it may very well be construed as a battle of curiosity. I wished to tackle the function of President, however I truthfully felt that I might do extra good over the long run by accepting the supply. Almost 13 years later, I’m able the place I really feel all of my background experiences are utilized, and I couldn’t be happier.
What have been a few of the most impactful tasks you labored on as a public adjuster which have formed your views and approaches in your present function?
I had the privilege of representing an aged gentleman from Jamaica who had been severely affected by Hurricane Charley. Language and cultural obstacles compounded his difficulties in understanding the intricacies of his insurance coverage declare. As somebody who beforehand lived within the islands, I shared a cultural reference to him that helped bridge the hole.
After I entered his house to evaluate the damages, it turned abundantly clear that the preliminary payout of $2,000 from his insurer was grossly inadequate. The extent of the injury was far larger than what had been accounted for. It was a humbling second, recognizing the vulnerability of policyholders like him, particularly those that have been non-English audio system.
I secured an adjusted declare payout of practically $80,000. After I handed him the examine, his eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. It was a poignant reminder of the profound affect our work as public adjusters can have on the lives of policyholders, notably these going through distinctive challenges.
Because the Managing Director of FAPIA, what do you see as essentially the most vital accomplishments throughout your tenure? May you elaborate on any key initiatives you’re notably happy with?
Communication and collaboration. I imagine one of the vital vital initiatives that I’m very happy with is our on-line collaboration between Board members and committee members. At one time, all communications have been both in particular person or by way of e-mail. We created a web based collaboration website in 2014 that has revolutionized the best way we talk among the many Board, our professionals, our Affiliate members, and committees.
We created a database that permits us to achieve out to public adjusters, members or not, in any given legislative district in Florida. We name it the Ambassador Legislative Emergency Response Workforce or ALERT. We assist prepare public adjusters who’re serious about answering a name to motion to assist every time wanted. We offer all the required instruments for public adjusters to achieve out as constituents to their elected officers and assist educate them. It has been key to a lot of our legislative successes over time.
Wanting forward, what are the highest priorities or tasks for FAPIA within the subsequent 3-5 years?
Stopping anti-consumer laws, even in an environment that isn’t pleasant to insurance coverage shoppers in our nice state, is a high precedence for our trade. It’s crucial that each public adjuster become involved. There may be additionally an excessive amount of concern about coverage kinds repeatedly eradicating a lot protection and creating gaps that policyholders are sometimes unable to get better from. This isn’t only a Florida downside. It’s a nationwide downside that have to be shouted from the hilltops as a result of most policyholders are unaware of those gaps till they’ve a loss.
Given your years of expertise, what recommendation would you supply aspiring public adjusters or these serious about getting concerned with policyholder advocacy organizations like FAPIA?
I’d urge new public adjusters in Florida to affix FAPIA as a result of we provide useful assets, steerage, and mentorship. This contains free entry to our PA Academy CE Webinar programs, kinds library, and reductions for attending our improbable networking and academic occasions. We additionally supply regulatory steerage and help every time a public adjuster member has any issues about DFS inquiries. Yearly, we add one other useful providing like member profit reductions or particular person regulatory steerage to our members. To not point out the truth that the one factor that comes between the whole annihilation of our trade in Florida and our potential to regulate claims for policyholders is FAPIA. Whether or not it’s by our political committee, Public Adjusters for the Insuring Public, our Ambassadors, or the skilled relationships we’ve developed with regulators over time, FAPIA will at all times be right here to advertise, protect, and defend our trade because it has achieved for the previous 30 years. We provide first-time members an ideal budget-friendly low cost on dues for his or her first 12 months – 50% off! It’s solely $250.00, which could be paid in month-to-month installments of solely $21. It is senseless to not be a member of FAPIA.
In your expertise, what are some widespread misunderstandings policyholders have about insurance coverage that public adjusters might help make clear?
Most policyholders don’t know what their owners insurance coverage is for or tips on how to correctly current a declare. A great public adjuster might help with the whole lot from correctly assessing and documenting the totality of damages to studying and decoding the legalese of coverage language. We then maintain insurers to the guarantees made so a full settlement is reached. This activity is changing into harder. Florida’s final legislative session lowered many client protections. The result’s that some policyholders might not select to dispute claims which might be underpaid or improperly denied. I imagine the pendulum of laws has swung too far to the safety of insurance coverage corporations over policyholders. We’ve seen assaults in opposition to shoppers prior to now that needed to be overcome. I sincerely belief that we are going to meet these challenges as a result of the people who find themselves most affected, the policyholders, want our assist in the legislature. We are going to as soon as once more work laborious to assist their pursuits in Tallahassee.
What sorts of challenges do public adjusters generally face, and the way has FAPIA labored to deal with them?
FAPIA has carried out sturdy instructional packages and persevering with training necessities for all public adjusters. This dedication to skilled improvement ensures that policyholders obtain the absolute best illustration from our licensed insurance coverage professionals.
FAPIA has performed an important function in enhancing the requirements and ethics throughout the public adjusting trade. Our strict code of ethics holds our members to the very best requirements of integrity and professionalism. Our Ethics Committee, consisting of ten public adjuster members who volunteer for this service, follows strict analysis and interview protocols. Now we have efficiently resolved many disputes amongst public adjusters and their shoppers.
As somebody who champions policyholder pursuits, what regulatory modifications do you suppose would take advantage of optimistic affect on the general public adjusting trade?
Following a pure catastrophe, Florida has many out-of-state public adjusters who will not be conversant in our guidelines and rules. This creates an environment the place extra complaints are filed in opposition to public adjusters, and that type of knowledge can create a unfavourable narrative that impacts the occupation. I imagine it could be useful to require nonresident public adjusters to take and move the five-hour legislation and ethics course – which isn’t required of them right now. I imagine when any public adjuster does enterprise in any state, they need to be conversant in and observe all the regulatory necessities to keep away from leaving a unfavourable blemish on our personal trade.
You’ve served in varied roles inside FAPIA over time. How has your management model advanced, and what rules information you in main the affiliation?
I’ve served in varied roles, together with chairing the Ethics, Public Relations, Membership, and Conference committees. I’ve been a member, a volunteer, a pacesetter, and now a supervisor. I must say that one of many issues I’ve discovered has been to hear. Listening is a elementary approach for leaders to know the wants, issues, and views of their crew members, colleagues, or constituents. By actively listening, I can achieve insights into what motivates and challenges our Board and members. I at all times attempt to exhibit a willingness to hear, and I imagine this helps to construct belief. It is a essential part of efficient management as a result of it fosters open and trustworthy communication. Workforce members usually tend to specific their concepts, issues, and suggestions once they know you might be listening. A lot of FAPIA’s greatest initiatives have been born from concepts that members shared with us. These embrace including leisure to FAPIA occasions prompt by our late pal and conference committee member, Bob Prepare dinner, the launch of the Policyholder Ambassadors legislative committee on the suggestion of Board member, Michael Ross LoBiondo, and the creation of the Neighborhood Affairs Committee allowed FAPIA members to “Pay It Ahead” on the suggestion of Board member, Juan Moya. Listening to our members is essential to making sure we’ve sturdy packages which might be useful to them.
May you share an expertise the place you needed to navigate by a very difficult interval at FAPIA? How did you deal with it?
There have been just a few difficult instances in my FAPIA expertise. I choose to focus on the optimistic. After I first accepted this place, many have been indignant at FAPIA for quite a lot of causes. I bear in mind after I first took this place, and I needed to contact a member who had not renewed their dues, I’d get an earful about how FAPIA was not doing something. Thankfully, our communication with members has vastly improved. Once they renew their membership, we regularly obtain FAPIA thanks for the whole lot we do for the trade. We’re a way more knowledgeable affiliation and providing worth, leading to FAPIA changing into the most important public adjusting affiliation within the nation with over 900 energetic members.
What methods do you use to make sure FAPIA repeatedly improves its packages and choices?
Listening to our members has allowed us to faucet into the collective information and creativity of the FAPIA household. By listening to numerous viewpoints and concepts, we’ve been capable of make extra knowledgeable selections and resolve broader issues. Now we have an incredible crew of pros who genuinely care about the way forward for advocacy and who deserve one of the best we will supply. We at all times attempt to discover another factor of worth we will supply our members. That has been a profitable technique.
Thought For The Day
Management shouldn’t be about being in cost. It’s about taking good care of these in your cost.