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What Are Designated Home States & Why Are They So Important?

by Dan Tromblay | Jul 02, 2018
Designated Home States

Everything Companies and Independent Adjusters Should Know About Designated Home States

Natural disasters can occur anywhere. When catastrophe strikes, the need for claims adjusters rises dramatically in the disaster area – in many cases, far exceeding the number of adjusters living in that state. For this reason, most property insurers maintain networks of company or independent adjusters that can be mobilized into so-called CAT teams, or catastrophe teams, and sent to any state where they’re needed. These adjusters often live in different states across the country, letting the insurer quickly assemble CAT teams based on geographical need. To accommodate this, CAT team members must hold non-resident adjuster licenses in all states where their service may be needed.

Normally, when a licensed adjuster from one state wants to conduct business in another, it’s necessary to obtain a non-resident license in the other state. This is not a problem if the two states have a reciprocal licensing agreement permitting licensed resident adjusters in one state to apply for a non-resident license in the other.

But what happens when the adjuster seeking a non-resident license lives in a state that doesn’t license adjusters? There are about 15 such states. How does an adjuster in one of those states obtain a non-resident license when he or she doesn’t hold a resident license? This is a real concern in states that rely on out-of-state CAT teams to assist when disaster blows ashore – states like Florida and Texas. To solve this problem, Florida and Texas (and several others) allow themselves to be used as a designated home state. Put simply, these states let out-of-state adjusters apply for a resident license as if they live in that state.

One of the nice things about obtaining a resident adjuster license in a designated home state is that the out-of-state adjuster is then free to apply to other states for a non-resident license. This makes designated home state licensing a popular strategy for adjusters living in non-licensing states.  For example, a company or independent adjuster living in Illinois (which does not license adjusters) can apply to Florida as his or her designated home state and then apply for non-resident licenses in all states that have a reciprocal agreement with Florida.

It must be noted that out-of-state adjusters are required to complete all the prelicensing and continuing education requirements of the designated home state. This should not be seen as a problem, since every state that licenses its adjusters has continuing education and, in most cases, prelicense education requirements for its resident licensees and applicants.

Designated home states also require out-of-state resident license applicants to pass the state’s license examination. Here is where Texas and Florida stand apart from all other designated home states. In both cases, all adjuster license applicants (resident applicants as well as out-of-staters seeking a designated home state resident license) are exempt from the state’s licensing examination if they successfully complete a specially approved exam prep course. These courses include a final exam comparable to the state’s license exam. WebCE® is one of several exam prep course providers that offers courses approved in this manner in both Florida and Texas. (For details, click here.)  Property insurers that build and maintain CAT teams rely on programs such as WebCE’s to help meet the never-ending need for new adjusters.

To learn more about adjuster licensing courses available from PreLicense.com®, a service of WebCE®, visit https://www.webce.com/adjusterprelicense or call 877-488-9310 to speak to a member of our support services team.

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Dan Tromblay, CLU, ChFC, has been an insurance educator for over 40 years. Since 2009, he has served as senior product manager for PreLicense.com, the exam prep service of WebCE, Inc.