Claims of public adjusters in the state overcharging for assistance after Hurricane Sandy spurred legislation to set a cap.

The legislation which caps the amount public adjuster can charge a homeowner for insurance claim assistance for certain emergencies was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.

“Public adjusters are supposed to look out for the best interests of the homeowner, but according to these residents, some of these adjusters were charging up to 40 to 50 percent of what the insurance company was to pay eventually,” said Assemblyman Jerry Green, D-Union, Middlesex, Somerset, a sponsor of the bill. “There is nothing currently in the books to prevent these individuals from taking advantage of these homeowners.“

The bill would prevent individuals, firms, associations or corporations licensed under the Public Adjusters’ Licensing Act from charging in excess of 10 percent of the amount paid out by the insurer for claims for a full year after a catastrophe.

“The last thing a homeowner affected by Sandy or any other natural disaster needs is a public adjuster who is more interested in making money than helping,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender, D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union, a sponsor of the bill.

The bill was released by the Assembly Financial Institution and Insurance.