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Alerts & Publications, Press

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

IN THE NEWS: What’s Behind Florida Insurers Being Battered With Lawsuits These Last 10 Months?

Heading into September nearly 100 federal lawsuits were filed against property and casualty insurers according to a Radar report. Radar reports that property and casualty insurers getting battered with lawsuits in Florida are increasingly seeking the work of three law firms – one of which is Fowler White.

ALM Litigation Editor, Michael Mora recently reached out to Fowler White Insurance Group Chair, J. Michael Pennekamp to discuss this trend. Michael Pennekamp said he always sees an uptick in litigation following a downtown in the economy and of select major events. “You see a major uptick when a hurricane is about a year out, whenever the statute of limitations on it is going to run out,” Pennekamp said, “or, if the legislature changes the rules of the game, which they did recently with the tort reform where they moved up the filing deadlines and the statute of limitations, and they changed the rules about what’s recoverable and what’s not recoverable.”

The article further delves into the ramifications State Farm, Allstate and other major insures are facing after the effects of Hurricane Ian. Hurricane Ian, a Category 5 hurricane, made landfall on September 28, 2022in Fort Myers, Florida and cause approximately $60 billion of insured damages and $100 billion in total loses.

Also discussed was tort reform law, House Bill 837-Civil Remedies which became effective March 23, 2023. Radar found an uptick in cases filed in federal court with nearly 100 federal lawsuits filed against property and casualty insurers heading into September – continuing an upward trend.

Fowler White has been in South Florida for eighty years, and Pennekamp, who has been an insurance litigator for over three decades, said he expects the filings to continue in the short term before falling off, likely pending the next natural disaster. He noted that among the reasons insurance companies chose his law firm is that they implement a “triage.”

“We go to every trial with a trial partner, a trial associate, and an appellate attorney, and our insurers know that,” Pennekamp said. “We’re able to take that case from that first moment in time through the appellate process.”

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