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 had been turned away on the crimson 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 unbelievable progress we have now 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 likelihood. 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:
Might you stroll us by way of your journey from turning 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 exceptional 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 purchasers. It was a rewarding journey, one stuffed with complicated instances, authorized intricacies, and a powerful 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. Lots of them discovered themselves in an uphill battle in opposition to highly effective insurance coverage firms, navigating a fancy and infrequently overwhelming course of on their very own. I used to be deciding whether or not I ought to examine to turn out to be an legal professional and, hopefully, a companion on the agency I used to be working for when a good friend instructed me about public adjusting. On the time, I had by no means heard of a public adjuster, which is humorous because the present incarnation of my profession is all about being an necessary useful resource for public adjusters and serving to them in each manner doable by way of 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 individual 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 offer an excellent basis for the subsequent 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 identical time as a result of it might be construed as a battle of curiosity. I wished to tackle the function of President, however I truthfully felt that I may do extra good over the long run by accepting the provide. Practically 13 years later, I’m ready the place I really feel all of my background experiences are utilized, and I couldn’t be happier.
What had been a number 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 limitations 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 grew to become 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 had been non-English audio system.
I secured an adjusted declare payout of practically $80,000. After I handed him the test, 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, significantly these dealing with distinctive challenges.
Because the Managing Director of FAPIA, what do you see as probably the most vital accomplishments throughout your tenure? Might you elaborate on any key initiatives you’re significantly pleased with?
Communication and collaboration. I imagine probably the most necessary initiatives that I’m very pleased with is our on-line collaboration between Board members and committee members. At one time, all communications had been both in individual or by way of e-mail. We created a web based collaboration web site 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 succeed in out to public adjusters, members or not, in any given legislative district in Florida. We name it the Ambassador Legislative Emergency Response Crew or ALERT. We assist prepare public adjusters who’re enthusiastic about answering a name to motion to assist at any time when wanted. We offer all the mandatory instruments for public adjusters to succeed in out as constituents to their elected officers and assist educate them. It has been key to lots of our legislative successes over time.
Trying 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’s not pleasant to insurance coverage shoppers in our nice state, is a high precedence for our business. It’s crucial that each public adjuster become involved. There’s additionally quite a lot of concern about coverage kinds constantly eradicating a lot protection and creating gaps that policyholders are sometimes unable to recuperate from. This isn’t only a Florida drawback. It’s a nationwide drawback that should 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 provide aspiring public adjusters or these enthusiastic 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 beneficial sources, steering, and mentorship. This consists of free entry to our PA Academy CE Webinar programs, kinds library, and reductions for attending our unbelievable networking and academic occasions. We additionally provide regulatory steering and help at any time when a public adjuster member has any considerations about DFS inquiries. Yearly, we add one other beneficial providing like member profit reductions or particular person regulatory steering to our members. To not point out the truth that the one factor that comes between the overall annihilation of our business in Florida and our means to regulate claims for policyholders is FAPIA. Whether or not it’s by way of 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 shield our business because it has executed for the previous 30 years. We provide first-time members an important budget-friendly low cost on dues for his or her first yr – 50% off! It’s solely $250.00, which could be paid in month-to-month installments of solely $21. It is not sensible to not be a member of FAPIA.
In your expertise, what are some frequent misunderstandings policyholders have about insurance coverage that public adjusters can assist make clear?
Most policyholders do not know what their householders insurance coverage is for or the best way to correctly current a declare. A very good public adjuster can assist with every little thing from correctly assessing and documenting the totality of damages to studying and deciphering the legalese of coverage language. We then maintain insurers to the guarantees made so a full settlement is reached. This job is turning into tougher. Florida’s final legislative session lowered many shopper 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 firms over policyholders. We’ve seen assaults in opposition to shoppers previously that needed to be overcome. I sincerely belief that we’ll meet these challenges as a result of the people who find themselves most affected, the policyholders, want our assist in the legislature. We’ll as soon as once more work laborious to help their pursuits in Tallahassee.
What sorts of challenges do public adjusters generally face, and the way has FAPIA labored to handle them?
FAPIA has applied sturdy instructional applications and persevering with schooling necessities for all public adjusters. This dedication to skilled growth ensures that policyholders obtain the very best illustration from our licensed insurance coverage professionals.
FAPIA has performed a vital function in enhancing the requirements and ethics throughout the public adjusting business. 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. We have now efficiently resolved many disputes amongst public adjusters and their purchasers.
As somebody who champions policyholder pursuits, what regulatory adjustments do you assume would take advantage of optimistic affect on the general public adjusting business?
Following a pure catastrophe, Florida has many out-of-state public adjusters who is probably not accustomed to 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 damaging narrative that impacts the career. 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 at the moment. I imagine when any public adjuster does enterprise in any state, they need to be accustomed to and observe the entire regulatory necessities to keep away from leaving a damaging blemish on our personal business.
You’ve served in numerous roles inside FAPIA over time. How has your management fashion developed, and what rules information you in main the affiliation?
I’ve served in numerous 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 realized has been to pay attention. Listening is a elementary manner for leaders to know the wants, considerations, and views of their workforce 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 display a willingness to pay attention, and I imagine this helps to construct belief. It is a essential element of efficient management as a result of it fosters open and trustworthy communication. Crew members usually tend to categorical their concepts, considerations, and suggestions once they know you might be listening. Lots of FAPIA’s finest initiatives had been born from concepts that members shared with us. These embody including leisure to FAPIA occasions advised by our late good friend and conference committee member, Bob Cook 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 vital to making sure we have now sturdy applications which might be beneficial to them.
Might you share an expertise the place you needed to navigate by way of a very difficult interval at FAPIA? How did you deal with it?
There have been a couple of difficult instances in my FAPIA expertise. I favor to focus on the optimistic. After I first accepted this place, many had been offended at FAPIA for a wide range of causes. I keep 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. Fortuitously, our communication with members has tremendously improved. Once they renew their membership, we frequently obtain FAPIA thanks for every little thing we do for the business. We’re a way more knowledgeable affiliation and providing worth, leading to FAPIA turning into the most important public adjusting affiliation within the nation with over 900 energetic members.
What methods do you utilize to make sure FAPIA constantly improves its applications and choices?
Listening to our members has allowed us to faucet into the collective information and creativity of the FAPIA household. By listening to various viewpoints and concepts, we have now been in a position to make extra knowledgeable selections and remedy broader issues. We have now a tremendous workforce of pros who genuinely care about the way forward for advocacy and who deserve one of the best we will provide. We at all times attempt to discover yet one more factor of worth we will provide our members. That has been a profitable technique.
Thought For The Day
Management isn’t about being in cost. It’s about taking good care of these in your cost.