Florida's state-backed Citizens insurance is quickly picking up customers—and more lawsuits, too

Citizens was served with 3,881 lawsuits during the first four months of 2022.

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The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. was served with 3,881 lawsuits during the first four months of 2022, as its number of customers continued soaring.

The average of 970 lawsuits a month was about 11.5 percent more than the average of 870 lawsuits a month during the same period in 2021, according to a report prepared for a meeting next week of the Claims Committee of the Citizens Board of Governors. The insurer also had 18,455 pending lawsuits as of April 30.

“Citizens continues to experience an increasing trend in new, incoming lawsuits primarily attributable to the increasing number of policies in force,” an executive summary of the report said. “This is also impacting the pending volume as we continued to work through the backlog in pending (cases) created by the effects of the prior COVID response by the state court system with the temporary suspension of court hearings/trials.”

The total during the first four months of 2022 included 3,832 lawsuits involving residential properties. Of that number, 2,880 lawsuits were from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the report.

Lawmakers during a special legislative session last month took steps aimed at reducing litigation costs in the troubled property-insurance system. The number of policies in Citizens has grown by thousands a week as private insurers have dropped customers and sought hefty rate hikes because of financial losses.

As of May 31, Citizens had 883,333 policies.
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