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 Client Advocate. The dinner was a smashing success, utterly bought out, and so excessive in demand that some hopeful attendees had 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 unimaginable progress now we have made as a corporation. 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 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 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 way of 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 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 purchasers. It was a rewarding journey, one full of 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 searching 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 sometimes overwhelming course of on their very own. I used to be deciding whether or not I ought to examine to grow to be an lawyer and, hopefully, a associate on the agency I used to be working for when a buddy advised 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 vital useful resource for public adjusters and serving to them in each approach potential 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 particular person to grow 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 techniques to offer an excellent basis for the following Managing Director. Only a few months earlier than I used to be to grow 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 might be construed as a battle of curiosity. I needed to tackle the position of President, however I truthfully felt that I might do extra good over the long run by accepting the supply. 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 among the most impactful tasks 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.
Once I entered his residence 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 better 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 almost $80,000. Once I handed him the test, his eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. It was a poignant reminder of the profound influence our work as public adjusters can have on the lives of policyholders, significantly these going through distinctive challenges.
Because the Managing Director of FAPIA, what do you see as essentially the most important accomplishments throughout your tenure? May you elaborate on any key initiatives you’re significantly pleased with?
Communication and collaboration. I consider some of the vital 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 particular person or through electronic 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 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 Workforce or ALERT. We assist prepare public adjusters who’re keen on answering a name to motion to assist at any time when wanted. We offer all the required 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 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 prime precedence for our trade. It’s crucial that each public adjuster get entangled. There may be additionally a substantial 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 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 keen on getting concerned with policyholder advocacy organizations like FAPIA?
I’d urge new public adjusters in Florida to hitch FAPIA as a result of we provide precious sources, steering, and mentorship. This contains free entry to our PA Academy CE Webinar programs, kinds library, and reductions for attending our unbelievable networking and academic occasions. We additionally supply regulatory steering and help at any time when a public adjuster member has any considerations about DFS inquiries. Yearly, we add one other precious 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 trade in Florida and our capacity 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 through the years, FAPIA will at all times be right here to advertise, protect, and shield our trade because it has completed 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 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 widespread 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 how one can correctly current a declare. A great public adjuster can assist with all the things 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 turning into harder. Florida’s final legislative session lowered many shopper protections. The result’s that some policyholders might not select to dispute claims which are underpaid or improperly denied. I consider 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’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 exhausting 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 schooling 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 a vital position 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. We now have 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 constructive influence on the general public adjusting trade?
Following a pure catastrophe, Florida has many out-of-state public adjusters who is probably not aware of our guidelines and rules. This creates an environment the place extra complaints are filed in opposition to public adjusters, and that form of information can create a unfavorable narrative that impacts the career. I consider it could be useful to require nonresident public adjusters to take and move the five-hour regulation and ethics course – which isn’t required of them at the moment. I consider 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 unfavorable blemish on our personal trade.
You’ve served in numerous roles inside FAPIA through the years. How has your management model advanced, 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 hear. Listening is a basic approach for leaders to grasp the wants, considerations, and views of their group members, colleagues, or constituents. By actively listening, I can acquire insights into what motivates and challenges our Board and members. I at all times attempt to display a willingness to hear, and I consider 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 categorical their concepts, considerations, and suggestions once they know you’re listening. Lots of FAPIA’s finest initiatives had been born from concepts that members shared with us. These embody including leisure to FAPIA occasions instructed by our late buddy 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 Group 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 now we have sturdy packages which are precious to them.
May 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 desire to focus on the constructive. Once I first accepted this place, many had been indignant at FAPIA for quite a lot 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’d get an earful about how FAPIA was not doing something. Thankfully, our communication with members has vastly improved. After they renew their membership, we regularly obtain FAPIA thanks for all the things we do for the trade. We’re a way more knowledgeable affiliation and providing worth, leading to FAPIA turning into the biggest 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 various viewpoints and concepts, now we have been in a position to make extra knowledgeable selections and clear up broader issues. We now have a tremendous group of execs who genuinely care about the way forward for advocacy and who deserve the perfect we will supply. We at all times attempt to discover yet another factor of worth we will supply our members. That has been a profitable technique.
Thought For The Day
Management isn’t about being in cost. It’s about caring for these in your cost.