Floridians believe exorbitant attorney fees risk homeownership affordability, survey says

homeowners insurance (Large)
Lawmakers are considering reducing fees.

A recent survey shows a majority of Florida voters agree that exorbitant legal fees in property insurance cases are driving up the cost of homeownership.  

Eighty-seven percent of those polled were especially concerned about the “multiplier fee” that allows attorneys to collect up to 30 times what a family may get in an insurance dispute.

The survey also showed:

  • 75% of polled voters say that limiting lawyer fees will stop greedy lawyers from taking advantage of homeowners.
  • 73% agree that reducing lawsuit abuse will help keep the costs of living down in Florida.
  • 76% said excessive litigation and out of control attorney’s fees are driving our insurance rates up and making it more expensive to buy a home or afford insurance coverage
  • 74% supported the need for legislation to address this issue and limit frivolous lawsuits. 

In January, multiple homeowners’ insurance companies in Florida were informed of  being at risk of being downgraded, which could make them financially insolvent. 

The closure of insurance companies in Florida would force hundreds of thousands of homeowners to look for alternative homeowners’ insurance policies. Oftentimes, new policies offer less coverage or rates that are more expensive. Worse, homeowners in search of a policy may only have one choice: the state-run Citizens Property Insurance.  

After years of dialing back the number of homeowners with policies through Citizens, this program could balloon again, increasing costs for all Florida taxpayers.

SB 914, which passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Jan. 21, would alleviate homeowners property insurance rates by cutting back on excessive attorney fees and put an end to “fee multipliers.” The proposed legislation requires that attorney fees for claims involving property insurance must be fair and reasonable.

This week, a companion bill was filed, PCB JDC 20-03, in the House Judiciary Committee and is scheduled to be heard in that committee on Thursday, January 30. 

The survey was conducted by The Tyson Group from December 9 through December 12, 2019, among a sample of 750 registered Florida voters.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


3 comments

  • Michael Feiler

    January 29, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    It’s sad that insurance companies can push-poll their way to more abuse of the public. Don’t want to pay fees? Don’t wrongfully deny claims!

  • Bill Newton

    January 29, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Hate to say it, but this is an incredibly biased and one-sided article. It looks like a press release from the tort-reform group.

    Why not at least get a response from a consumer group or even the trial lawyers?

    Attorney fees are already must be approved by the judge and may be appealed by the insurance company. A good lawyer is the only recourse a consumer has against the huge insurance company.

  • Joe Petrelli

    January 30, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    The downgrades do NOT mean the insurers would be insolvent. Demotech’s Financial Stability Rating of S, one notch below A, is often accepted in the insurance industry.

Comments are closed.


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