Citizen’s Property Insurance facing 900 new lawsuits a month

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — One month after state lawmakers were summoned back to Tallahassee to fix Florida’s broken homeowner’s insurance industry, the crisis continues.

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“As we sit here today, we are just under 19,000, but quickly approaching 19,000 lawsuits,” said Elaina Paskalakis of Citizen’s Property Insurance, during a claims committee meeting earlier this month.

Citizens, the sate-backed insurer of last resort isn’t just facing mounting litigation, it is also absorbing some 12,000 policies a month.

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“Last year at this time they (Citizens) were growing at about 5,000 policies a week, so they are growing exponentially more,” says State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas). “They have about $6 billion in cash and about $300 billion in potential liability if they have a big storm.”

With police and lawsuits piling up, Citizens recently approved $50 million for litigation costs, with the state-backed insurer set to approve another $50 million when it meets again in July.

“It is all hands on deck at Citizens, and frankly I don’t know how they are going to manage all this, we would never let a private insurance company grow as fast as citizens is growing right now,” says Brandes.

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The growing number of policies and lawsuits involving Citizens underscores just how volatile Florida’s homeowner’s insurance market remains, even after May’s emergency special session, when lawmakers passed a host of measures meant to stabilize the industry.

While Florida’s perilous position is bad right now, lawmakers and board members agree, it could get much worse if a hurricane makes landfall this season. Florida has not had to deal with a major hurricane since 2018, yet lawsuits have increased and almost a dozen private insurance carriers have gone into liquidation. This will accelerate if a storm hits.

“Let’s just pray that there is no storm this year because Citizens has to manage what could be a million policies by the end of the year, and I don’t know how they are going to do it,” says Brandes.

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