Florida accounted for 8 percent of all homeowners claims in U.S.,
but a whopping 76 percent of all lawsuits
Tallahassee, Fla. – A new analysis conducted by Florida’s top insurance regulator shows that the state has by far the worst homeowners’ insurance litigation environment in the country and starkly documents the need for true property insurance litigation reforms this legislative session, the Consumer Protection Coalition (CPC) said today.
According to the most recent national data, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) found that Florida accounted for just 8.16 percent of all homeowners’ claims in the U.S., yet it also accounted for 76.45 percent of all homeowners’ insurance lawsuits across the country. OIR said the results “are not an anomaly” and that the national data shows “litigation trends in Florida have been consistently many times higher than any other state.”
In response, the CPC said the findings are nothing short of a clarion call for legislators to pass reforms now to protect consumers and the state’s economy.
The data analysis was contained in an April 2 letter that Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier wrote to state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the House Commerce Committee. In the letter, Altmaier explained that OIR conducted the analysis using data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Market Conduct Annual Statement Data Call, which included data from more than 750 insurance companies across the country.
The OIR also used the data to test how property insurers are handling claims in Florida compared to other states. The analysis examined Florida’s ratio of homeowners’ insurance claims closed without payment to total claims closed and found the state trends along with the national average – in other words, claims-handling in Florida appears to be no different than other states. However, when OIR examined the ratio of homeowners’ lawsuits opened in Florida to claims closed without payment, OIR found that Florida is eight times higher than the second-highest state in the country, Connecticut.
Altmaier said that while his analysts continue to explore possible causes for 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.”
In the letter, OIR recommended that state lawmakers consider additional tort reform measures, including reforming Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute to make it similar to Assignment of Benefit reforms passed in 2019, limiting contingency fee multipliers for attorneys to “rare and exceptional” circumstances, addressing questionable roofing solicitations fueling frivolous lawsuits, and adopting additional lawsuit reforms similar to those approved in Texas in 2017.
“Legislators understandably want and need access to good, solid, reliable data when considering major public policy changes,” said Carolyn Johnson, Senior Director of Business, Economic Development and Innovation Policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the CPC. “The OIR data analysis couldn’t make it any clearer that there is something seriously wrong in Florida’s homeowners insurance claim environment, and that no other state is facing a similar lawsuit frenzy in homeowners’ insurance.”