A state agency provided the Legislature with misleading data about Florida property insurance lawsuits, according to an insurance expert, adding to the debate as lawmakers consider a bill to limit consumer access to the courts when seeking claims from insurers.
On April 2, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner David Altmaier sent a letter to the House Commerce Committee saying that Florida homeowners are responsible for 76% of all property insurance lawsuits in the country.
A property insurance lawsuit is typically initiated when someone files a claim that an insurance company refuses to pay.
The letter was supplemental to a report Altmaier sent to the committee in February to prepare for debate on House Bill 305, which seeks to reduce attorney incentives to file lawsuits as well as other measures the bill’s sponsors say are necessary to rein in consumer costs.
The insurance industry describes the situation in Florida as a litigation crisis. But Birny Birnbaum, executive director for the Center for Economic Justice, said Altmaier’s letter did not paint a complete picture of the situation.