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Legislature considers ending one-way attorney fees

On average, everyday more than 350 lawsuits are filed against insurance companies in the sunshine state.
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Posted at 5:29 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 17:29:51-05

As lawmakers in Tallahassee try to get Florida’s property insurance crisis under control, they’re taking a closer look at how insurance disputes play out in the court system.

On average, everyday more than 350 lawsuits are filed against insurance companies in the sunshine state.

The state legislature is considering ending one-way attorney fees, which the insurance industry says is one of the biggest cost drivers.

The statute requires insurers to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees if the carrier loses in court.

“This is the only chance they have to get this very volatile insurance market under control,” said Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute.

According to an analysis from state insurance regulators, more than 80% of all property insurance lawsuits nationwide are filed in Florida.

In 2021, the III says there were more than 116,000 lawsuits filed in Florida.

California, which has almost twice as many residents, was in second place with 3,900 suits.

“The six companies that failed this year, that were declared insolvent, each one of those six had 5,000 or more lawsuits filed against them in the prior year. Each one. That’s more than the entire state of California,” said Friedlander.

With republican supermajorities in both chambers, the bills are expected to pass easily.

“This bill is really bad for all of Florida’s policy holders. Plain and simple,” said Gina Clausen Lozier, an attorney and insurance expert.

Lozier argues the one-way fees, which allow consumers to file suit without paying upfront costs, are the only way many people can afford to hold their insurance company accountable.

“The insurance companies have done a really good job of creating a false narrative that says (lawyers) are the bad people,” Lozier said. “But really the people being hurt by this are the consumers.”

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