According to a new study released today, victims of the recent natural disasters in the United States could face long rebuilding delays unless reforms removing insurance marketplace regulatory barriers are adopted to fix a broken system.
“The victims of the recent rash of natural disasters throughout the country could face significant delays trying to rebuild their lives because there aren’t enough licensed insurance adjusters to meet consumer need,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, author of the report. “Enacting reforms that eliminate burdensome licensing requirements would open up the marketplace and allow disaster claims can be processed much faster, while lowering costs for consumers and increasing job opportunities for new adjustors.”
Among the findings of “Breaking Down Barriers”:
- In 34 states, an insurance adjuster must obtain a license to practice in the state, even if they are already licensed in their home state.
- The average cost to obtain a professional license is $267, but can exceed $1,000 in some cases. An average insurance adjuster holds 10-12 licenses, most of which are redundant though required once they cross state borders.
- Costly, burdensome state requirements create a de facto barrier to entry for new adjustors, which becomes a problem when there is high demand such as for insurance adjusters after natural disasters.
- Outdated and broken laws result in consumers paying higher costs while receiving lower quality services.
- Victims of natural disasters are particularly not well-served under the current system, as insurance claims are subject to sudden, dramatic shifts in consumer demand.
- By enacting reforms to allow for the reciprocity of licenses across state lines, providers can respond more quickly to changes in demand (such as following a natural disaster) and eliminate any supply shortages and price hikes caused by barriers to market entry.
Dr. Wayne Winegarden is a Senior Fellow in Business and Economics at Pacific Research Institute. He is also the Principal of Capitol Economic Advisors and a Managing Editor for EconoSTATS.