The American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters was founded in 2004 for the purpose of ensuring that the rights of a public adjuster are represented. In doing so, public adjusters nationwide are able to work in a fair and open marketplace.
March 25, 2020
While many of us are working at home, we have more time to spend analyzing and contemplating the roles of the government and the insurance industry in responding to the corona virus crisis. The below blog is an extension of that opportunity.
NJ has been floating a bill, sponsored by Assembly members Roy Freiman, Louis D. Greenwald, and Annette Chaparro, which would mandate that… “every policy of insurance insuring against loss or damage to property, which includes the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption in force in this State…, shall be construed to include among the covered perils under that policy, coverage for business interruption due to global virus transmission or pandemic …… NJ Assembly 3844. The bill then goes on to provide a recovery fund for those companies which will be paid into by all insurers (and presumably the government).
At first (and second) glance, this bill seems fanciful, unlikely to get out of committee, not able to pass muster from a constitutional challenge, and not advisable on many levels. But, with time to contemplate, and for the sake of argument, what if it weren’t? As the owner of a small business, as well as being general counsel to a national association of public insurance adjusters [AAPIA], and as someone who has the privilege of working with the absolute best of the policyholder advocates, I can see a rainbow here, as well as a possible legal argument for the bill.
The very valid arguments against such a bill as the NJ one begin with the idea that government would be interfering and reforming contracts long after they were agreed upon by the parties. That contractual interference is fundamentally unfair and violates both common law and statutory law regarding such contract and may even have some due process or other constitutional implications.
But isn’t this type of contractual reformation and interference already happening? Arguably the NJ bill that seeks to reform the policy to provide coverage is re-writing the contract after the fact, but when requiring landlords not to collect rent, and banks not to foreclose, isn’t that government interference with contract also altering the terms of contracts after the fact?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it's suspending all evictions and foreclosures until the end of April. The Federal Housing Finance Agency directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do the same for a minimum of 60 days. What about the Note signed by the parties? Isn’t that a contract?
The National Multifamily Housing Council published a release on March 22 asking for a 90 day period for a halt on evictions by apartment owners and landlords for renters who were experiencing job loss or reduction in income due to COVID-19. The publication Motley Fool published a list of local governments that have halted such evictions and foreclosures. After seeing those lists, I ask the same question about the change in the terms of the contract after the fact. Arguably the NJ law that seeks to reform the policy to provide coverage is re-writing the contract after the fact, but when requiring landlords not to collect rent, and lenders not to foreclose, among other limitations—aren’t those the same types of interference with contract and alteration of terms after the fact?
In the end, altering insurance policies retroactively probably isn’t a good idea, but it’s not as fanciful as it seems on the surface.
Holly K Soffer, Esq.
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC INSURANCE ADJUSTERS ELECTED A NEW PRESIDENT FEBRUARY 10, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters' [AAPIA], Board
of Directors elected Paul Yemm as its new president effective February 10, 2020.
"I'm excited to get involved on a national level to further the public adjusting industry," Yemm
The AAPIA Board is excited to work with someone with such a depth of experience and ability.
Yemm has been involved with AAPIA since 2009 and began as a public adjuster in 1984. Yemm
is also the president of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Public Insurance Adjusters [MAPIA], which
term of office ends Spring 2020. As president of MAPIA, Yemm provided the leadership to
expand and professionalize the organization, and AAPIA looks forward to Paul applying those
talents to AAPIA.
"Back in 1984, there were under 100 public adjusters in Pennsylvania and today there are several
thousand," Yemm said.
Yemm is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida and is making strides to
expand this list.
Dr. Michael Capilli served as AAPIA president for three years and will now be taking over as Chief
Legislative Officer. In his new role, Capilli will work with policyholder attorneys, state regulators,
state legislators and United Policyholders to advocate for legislation and regulation that benefits
"This is a critical time to take on this engaging role," Capilli said. "We want to be as active as
possible in a time where insurance companies are offering new policies that deceive the public
into thinking they have the best policies while removing coverages that policyholders think they
have." With these recent moves, AAPIA looks forward to the ongoing success of all of its projects
in the coming year.