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As Citizens insurance denies claims, it racks up attorneys' fees

Citizens Property Insurance Co. will be raising its rates for the third time next year and the proceeds will cover more than claims:

They’ll also pay attorneys’ fees — now averaging an estimated $2 million each month — as policyholders battle over getting their claims paid.

Between January 2011 and June 2013, Citizens has spent more than $16 million on lawyers from 177 different law firms who have successfully challenged the state’s largest insurance company on behalf of policyholders. Citizens collects $2.2 billion in annual premiums and has an administrative operating budget of $205 million.

The data was compiled by the state-run insurer at the request of Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, a licensed general contractor and appraiser who has been one of the Legislature’s most vocal critics of Citizens. He and several plaintiffs lawyers estimate that Citizens has spent a comparable amount on defense attorneys’, with total litigation costs exceeding $30 million a year, but the company does not have that data available.

"How can you ask me to increase my premiums when you are wasting away my premiums in litigation?" asked Artiles, who wants the Legislature to force Citizens’ board of directors to keep the company’s legal costs in check. "How can you function as a board when you cannot control your costs?" Story here.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/21/3637396/citizens-racks-up-millions-in.html#storylink=cpy

Comments

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FLMom

It's time for some federal oversight. The taxpayers are being robbed. At gunpoint.

whasup

FLMom, in case you haven't noticed, whatever the federal government gets its fingers into, only gets worse.

The answer is to abolish Citizens--a government corporation with the worst attributes of both government and corporations--and let the market decide what rates are sound.

It would also help for the state's Office of Insurance Regulation to loosen up its requirements on insurers which only protect the cartel of private insurers from competition. Rates would go down if we let more home-grown insurers, especially self-insurance pools and mutual companies form so we can protect ourselves without paying the profit freight for the privateers.

Sebastian

Hey tell the idiot I mean FLMom to stop being so selectively ignorant.. How convenient blame the Government for everything!!! Sounds like a Republican to me although the two party dictatorship in this country isnt working for the American people. They both suck FLMom if you must know or arent in touch with reality it all comes down to Corporate Greed which the GOP has allways sided with!!! And has been in favor of!!! Good old Reagenomics lol oops I mean Saint Reagen that oh ill hold back!!!! I'm so glad he's dead

Sebastian

OOps I meant that was for you whasap not you FlMom i apologize.. My anger got the best of me hey whasap I'll tell you whats really up get your head out of your ass!!!!! And tune into the real world rates are never going to go down too much much at stake and the insurance companies and their lobbyists arent having it!!! Yeah abolish government man sounds like you walked by a school but never really walked in!!!! Just let the plutocrates and the Oligarchs rape us all I dont apologize for what I'm saying so I refuse to be polite cause although capitalism has been good to my family and me the system isnt working for all so thats whats really up whasap or whatever your name is.. Maybe your name should be Dumbass

Unhappyheraldsubscriber

Frank Artiles is a public adjuster and one of the worst frauds in the south Florida insurance market. The reason Citizens spends so much on attorney's fees is because they are fighting the rampant fraud perpetrated by Frank Artiles and others like him. There are public adjusters that say they will tell their clients to sue Citizens whether the claim is paid, not paid or how much is paid. The validity of the claim isn't even considered. Is Citizens just supposed to pay these claims no matter what is being claimed? Do you think the premiums will go down if that happens? As usual, the Herald's story is completely biased. Why don't the authors investigate insurance fraud, overreaching and public adjusters.

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