The Florida Affiliation of Public Insurance coverage Adjusters (FAPIA) lately celebrated its thirtieth Anniversary with a splendid gala. The occasion honored a number of outstanding policyholder advocates, together with Amy Bach from United Policyholders, Doug Quinn of the American Policyholders Affiliation, and Tasha Carter, the appointed Florida Insurance coverage Client 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 purple carpet entrance.
I had the privilege of talking at this momentous event, reflecting on my position 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, not like 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 along with her collaborative management and indomitable perseverance. Nancy has been instrumental in molding FAPIA into an impactful group that hosts participating and academic occasions eagerly anticipated by its members.
Success in any endeavor hardly ever 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 turning into a licensed public adjuster in 1999 to your present position 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 crammed with advanced circumstances, authorized intricacies, and a robust sense of justice.
Throughout my years as a paralegal, I witnessed quite a few circumstances involving insurance coverage claims. I witnessed the struggles that policyholders confronted when in search of truthful compensation for his or her losses. A lot of them discovered themselves in an uphill battle in opposition to highly effective insurance coverage firms, navigating a fancy and sometimes 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 legal professional and, hopefully, a companion on the agency I used to be working for when a pal advised 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 method 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, once 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 short lived foundation. I agreed to tackle the position.
Whereas doing so, I modified and up to date lots of the affiliation’s methods to supply a very good basis for the subsequent Managing Director. Just some 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 could possibly be construed as a battle of curiosity. I wished to tackle the position of President, however I truthfully felt that I may do extra good over the long run by accepting the supply. Almost 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 have been a few of the most impactful initiatives you labored on as a public adjuster which have formed your views and approaches in your present position?
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 grew to become abundantly clear that the preliminary payout of $2,000 from his insurer was grossly inadequate. The extent of the harm was far better 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 almost $80,000. After I handed him the test, his eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. It was a poignant reminder of the profound impression 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 pleased with?
Communication and collaboration. I imagine probably the most vital initiatives that I’m very pleased 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 electronic 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 enables 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 Group or ALERT. We assist practice public adjusters who’re considering 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 through the years.
Wanting forward, what are the highest priorities or initiatives 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 business. It’s crucial that each public adjuster get entangled. There’s additionally quite a lot of concern about coverage types constantly eradicating a lot protection and creating gaps that policyholders are sometimes unable to get well 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 supply aspiring public adjusters or these considering getting concerned with policyholder advocacy organizations like FAPIA?
I might urge new public adjusters in Florida to affix FAPIA as a result of we provide helpful assets, steerage, and mentorship. This consists of free entry to our PA Academy CE Webinar programs, types library, and reductions for attending our improbable networking and academic occasions. We additionally supply regulatory steerage and help at any time when a public adjuster member has any issues about DFS inquiries. Yearly, we add one other helpful 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 business in Florida and our capability 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 through the years, FAPIA will at all times be right here to advertise, protect, and defend our business because it has carried out for the previous 30 years. We provide first-time members an important budget-friendly low cost on dues for his or her first 12 months – 50% off! It’s solely $250.00, which might 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 will help make clear?
Most policyholders don’t know what their owners insurance coverage is for or how you can correctly current a declare. public adjuster will help with every thing 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 process 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 can 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 up 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’ll as soon as once more work onerous to help 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 academic packages and persevering with training 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 position in enhancing the requirements and ethics inside 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 now have efficiently resolved many disputes amongst public adjusters and their purchasers.
As somebody who champions policyholder pursuits, what regulatory modifications do you assume would take advantage of constructive impression on the general public adjusting business?
Following a pure catastrophe, Florida has many out-of-state public adjusters who will not be aware of our guidelines and laws. This creates an environment the place extra complaints are filed in opposition to public adjusters, and that type of knowledge can create a detrimental narrative that impacts the career. I imagine it might 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 aware of and comply with all the regulatory necessities to keep away from leaving a detrimental blemish on our personal business.
You’ve served in numerous roles inside FAPIA through the years. How has your management fashion developed, and what ideas 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 method for leaders to grasp the wants, issues, and views of their staff 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 reveal a willingness to pay attention, and I imagine this helps to construct belief. This can be a essential part of efficient management as a result of it fosters open and sincere communication. Group members usually tend to categorical their concepts, issues, and suggestions after they know you’re listening. A lot of FAPIA’s finest initiatives have been born from concepts that members shared with us. These embrace including leisure to FAPIA occasions advised by our late pal 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 Group 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 packages which can be helpful 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 desire to focus on the constructive. After I first accepted this place, many have been offended at FAPIA for a wide range of causes. I keep in mind once I first took this place, and I needed to contact a member who had not renewed their dues, I might get an earful about how FAPIA was not doing something. Happily, our communication with members has vastly improved. After they renew their membership, we regularly obtain FAPIA thanks for every 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 use to make sure FAPIA constantly 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 various viewpoints and concepts, we have now been capable of make extra knowledgeable choices and clear up broader issues. We now have a tremendous staff of execs who genuinely care about the way forward for advocacy and who deserve one of the best we are able to supply. We at all times attempt to discover another factor of worth we are able to supply our members. That has been a profitable technique.
Thought For The Day
Management will not be about being in cost. It’s about taking good care of these in your cost.