The Department of Financial Services hereby states that the following circumstances constitute an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare: This emergency rule is necessitated by the property damage resulting in Florida from Hurricane Wilma, Florida’s eighth hurricane in 15 months, which came ashore in Florida at 6:30 a.m. ET on October 24, 2005, as a category 3 hurricane near Cape Romano, 22 miles south of Naples. Hurricane Wilma came ashore with sustained winds up to 125 miles per hour. It remained a category 2 hurricane as it traveled across the entire southern peninsula of the state with winds of up to 100 miles per hour. The Governor of Florida declared a state of emergency (Executive Order # 05-219). The President of the United States signed a disaster declaration to provide federal disaster assistance to the damaged areas. According to information reported to the Office of Insurance Regulation by insurance companies, 836,408 insurance claims were filed by Florida residents as a result of Hurricane Wilma. Due to the huge number of claims, over half of these claims have not yet been settled by insurance companies and 345,297 claims have not even had damages assessed by the insurer’s claims adjuster. These figures show that the emergency created by Hurricane Wilma continues to impact a large number of Floridians. Excessive public adjusting fees are a source of injury to the public health, safety, and welfare by substantially impairing the financial ability of insureds to effectuate repairs to damaged property in a timely fashion, to commence or complete repairs, or to make proper and adequate repairs meeting building code requirements. In order for complete rebuilding to occur, insurance proceeds cannot be eroded by unreasonable public adjuster fees. As a result, there is a need to limit the fees imposed by public adjusters to a reasonable level. This rule limits fees charged by public adjusters to 10 per cent of the amount of the insurance policy proceeds paid to the policyholder. The rule also contains provisions relating to required contract terms and other ethical requirements. These provisions are reasonable and necessary based on the Department’s experience with public adjuster abuses after prior hurricanes. The Legislature recognized, in Section 626.8698, Florida Statutes, that the interest of the public demands that public adjusters be prohibited from “soliciting or otherwise taking advantage of a person who is vulnerable, emotional or otherwise upset as a result of trauma, accident or similar occurrence…” Hurricane Wilma has placed a great number of people in a state of vulnerability, including many Floridians who live and work in areas previously impacted by Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Dennis in the three months prior to landfall of Hurricane Wilma, as well as the four hurricanes which struck the state in 2004. The emotional stress of claimants may lead them to make imprudent decisions in the context of contracting with public adjusters. In consideration of the emergency conditions that continue to exist, and given the Department’s responsibility to protect the public interest, including insureds, and implement the Insurance Code, an emergency rule is necessary.