On September 26, 2018, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that California will recognize a new adjuster certification system known as the Universal Claim Certification (UCC). The UCC is also recognized by Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri. It was created by the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) with the goal of becoming a federally recognized program, in order to eliminate the process and expense of obtaining a separate license to work in each state.
Independent and public claims adjusters are required to be licensed in every state in which they do business. Licensing examinations are controlled by each individual state, and there are no existing federal license programs. Most states do not recognize reciprocity of licenses obtained in others, which causes the average adjuster to obtain 10-12 licenses in order to work on their claims. California, New York, and Hawaii do not recognize reciprocity with any other state, and many states require specialized licenses for workers’ compensation. As it stands, each state licensing program costs between $267.00 – $1,000.00.
The Claims Licensing Advancement for Interstate Matters Act (CLAIM Act) has been submitted to Congress multiple times since 2012, in hopes of creating a federal-level licensing program. Thus far it has been unsuccessful, but will be introduced again in 2019. There is a fair amount of pushback, including from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC supports state-run licensing programs as they currently exist, and is skeptical that states will support the idea of federal pre-emption. The NAIC argues that under the current system, adjusters have the ability to work in each state without issues that might require federal pre-emption, and it calls into doubt the effectiveness of federal oversight the CLAIM Act supposedly offers. Those in support of the act argue that the current system is outdated, it creates duplicative examinations and requires adjusters to incur high costs, and that existing reciprocity is inadequate.
It is important to note that this is a certification, created and maintained by a non-governmental body, and not a state-issued license. There is a single course and examination, intended to be more inclusive than the 34 existing state licenses. Therefore, while one who obtains the UCC may work in multiple states, it is not considered reciprocity as the examination is not state-law specific.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
Independent and public claims adjusters who are licensed in California, and those looking to work in California now have the opportunity to take one less licensing examination. Once an adjuster obtains the UCC, they will be able to work in California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri without obtaining individual state licenses. CLM’s goal is to continue adding states to the list, making it easier and more cost effective to work in several states.