The majority of Florida voters agree that lawsuit reform is necessary to keep the cost of homeownership affordable, according to a recent survey.
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.
When companies are forced to pay the exorbitant legal fees, rates must increase. Due to frivolous lawsuits and excessive attorney’s fees, homeowners’ property insurance rates could climb 10-fold over the next 10 years. Higher rates contribute to the rising cost of homeownership in Florida.
Senate Bill 914 has been introduced to reform the legal climate in Florida and reduce the burden of excessive lawsuits on Florida homeowners.
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 introduced in the House as well. PCB JDC 20-03 is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the Judiciary Committee.
According to the 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Florida ranks 46 out of 50 and is one of the top five worst states for unfair and unreasonable legal environments.
Additionally, multiple homeowners’ insurance companies in Florida are currently at risk of being downgraded, which would make them financially insolvent. This would force hundreds of thousands of homeowners to look for alternative homeowners’ insurance policies, which are often more expensive or put the state at risk of adding these homeowners to the state-run Citizens Property Insurance, increasing costs for all taxpayers.
The survey was conducted by The Tyson Group from December 9 through December 12, 2019, among a sample of 750 registered Florida voters.
ABOUT FLORIDIANS FOR LAWSUIT REFORM
Floridians for Lawsuit Reform is a 501(c)4 organization that was formed by Floridians to pursue lawsuit reform. The goals of the nonprofit are to: 1) raise awareness for the abuse of the system; 2) demonstrate the impact of frivolous lawsuits and over-the-top attorney fees on homeowners property insurance rates; and 3) promote possible solutions that will benefit Florida families.