Home Insurance Related lawsuits in Florida

21 Apr

In a recent open letter from Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to House Commerce Committee Chair Representative Blaise Ingoglia, Altmaier detailed the fact that Florida accounts for almost three-quarters of all insurance lawsuits filed by homeowners against insurance companies in the United States.

Altmaier revealed in his letter that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) had gathered data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Market Conduct Annual Statement (MCAS) Data Call, in an effort to clarify litigation trends in the state’s insurance market.

According to the data, Florida was responsible for only 8.16% of all homeowners’ insurance lawsuits initiated by insurance companies in 2019. One the other side of the coin, Florida was responsible for a shocking 76.45% of all homeowners’ suits opened against US insurers.

“While we continue to explore these and other possibilities to explain the disparity, OIR does not have a readily available explanation for Florida’s outlier status other than to simply state that Florida is experiencing far more claims-related litigation than the 47 other reporting states,” said Altmaier in his open letter.

In addition, the data showed that Florida litigation levels have consistently been higher than other states. He provided a chart in his letter to drive home this point.

Percent of nationwide homeowners’ claims opened in Florida:

  • 2016: Florida is responsible for 64.43 of all lawsuits
  • 2017: Florida is responsible for 68.07 of all lawsuits
  • 2018: Florida is responsible for 79.91 of all lawsuits
  • 2019: Florida is responsible for 76.45 of all lawsuits

The letter also documented the fact that the ratio of suits opened to claims closed without payment is eight times higher than the second-place state. Florida’s rate of 27.75 dwarves second place Connecticut rate of only 3.4%.

Altmaier’s letter suggested a number of recommendations to help change Florida’s insurance litigation trends. These recommendations include:

  • Reforming the state’s one-way attorney’s fees statute
  • Controlling contingency fee multipliers
  • Pre-suit notice and inspection requirements for property claims

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