TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 4, 2020) — The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee today passed a bill that will prevent attorneys from exploiting an outdated and unnecessary legal tactic to enrich themselves at the expense of insurance consumers.
The “common law contingency risk fee multiplier” is intended for use in cases where legal counsel might be hard to find, but it has been exploited in recent years during routine residential property claims. Senate Bill 914 by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, restores balance by making sure the fee multiplier is only used in property cases during rare or exceptional cases based on evidence showing that competent counsel could not have otherwise been retained in a reasonable manner.
The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) President and CEO Michael Carlson cheered the bill’s passage:
“This is a very positive movement in the effort to curb use of the contingency fee multiplier, which has become an instrument of some greedy attorneys doubling their fees solely because they can.
“Following the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida lawmakers are sending a message that contingency fee enhancements should apply only in rare and exceptional cases, not in run-of-the-mill residential property claims.
“We’re in favor of protections that help lower insurance rates for consumers, and this policy should have a direct, practical effect.”
The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee for final consideration before heading to the Senate floor. On the House side, House Bill 7071 is in the Commerce Committee, its final stop before the floor.
To learn more about the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, visit PIFF.net.
The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, Inc. (PIFF), is a leading voice for the personal lines property and casualty insurance industry in Florida. PIFF represents national insurance carriers and their subsidiaries, including many of the state’s top writers of private passenger auto and homeowners multiperil insurance. Together, PIFF members write more than $13 billion in premium in the state. PIFF advocates for a healthy and competitive insurance marketplace for the benefit of Florida consumers. Follow us @PIFFNews. Visit PIFF.net to learn more.
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