In an effort to keep unscrupulous public insurance adjusters from taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners affected by Sandy, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green will introduce a bill which would cap how much an adjuster can charge for insurance claim assistance during emergencies.

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"We had a meeting recently in Union County to discuss what we could do to help people whose lives were destroyed by this storm. One of the consistent complaints we heard from homeowners was not only about their insurance companies giving them a hard time, but about the adjusters they were hiring. Many of them were charging anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of what the insurance company was planning to pay out," said Green. "For an adjuster to take half of someone's proceeds is just totally unacceptable to me."

"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 taking advantage. This is a crime. A loan shark doesn't even charge that much," said Green. "Unfortunately, there is nothing currently in the books to prevent these individuals from taking advantage of these homeowners. This bill changes that."

The measure would prohibit an individual, firm, association or corporation licensed under the "Public Adjusters' Licensing Act" from charging, agreeing to or accepting any compensation 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. A catastrophic loss occurrence is one that is designated by the President of the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Governor or the State Office of Emergency Management.

"These natural disasters bring out the best and worst in people," said Green.

"For every Good Samaritan, there is a hustler looking to benefit from the misfortune of others. People who've suffered property damage due to a natural disaster deserve someone on their side during the complicated insurance claim process, not someone who is going to make the financial hit even more severe."