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Citizens Sees Drop in New Lawsuits

The Florida Legislature has taken steps to reduce insurance litigation, and it may be helping. The Fla.-operated “insurer of last resort” saw a decrease in 1Q lawsuits.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. saw a decrease in new lawsuits during the first three months of 2023, though it still faces a large number of them. In March, it had more than 19,000 pending cases, according to a newly posted document on its website.

In the first quarter – January through March – Citizens was served with 2,229 lawsuits – an average of 743 new lawsuits per month. But that’s down from an average 943 new lawsuits per month during the same period in 2022, according to the document prepared for a meeting Thursday of the Citizens Board of Governors’ Claims Committee.

As of March 31, however, Citizens had 19,627 pending lawsuits – a 9% increase from the same time in 2022.

“As compared to this same time period last year … Citizens has experienced a significant decrease in new incoming lawsuits by over 20%,” the executive summary said. “Meanwhile, pending suit volume has increased by 9%, as expected, as the backlog of lawsuits continues to move through the court system.”

Citizens and other insurers have long blamed lawsuits for driving up insurance costs in the state.

In recent years, lawmakers have taken a series of steps aimed at curbing lawsuits against the industry, including during a December special legislative session.

Of the lowered number of lawsuits in 2023’s first quarter, almost all involved residential property, with two out of three (64%) cases coming from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to Citizens’ update.

© 2023 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved.