Florida leads US in property claim lawsuits
SEMINOLE COUNTY. Florida – According to the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization that helps consumers better understand insurance, 80% of all property lawsuits are filed in Florida.
The other 49 states and Washington DC combined account for the remaining 20%. That’s why they say that if change doesn’t happen quickly, personal home insurance policies could see another 30-50% increase next year.
Last week, Bernadette Hurst’s home saw its 20-year-old metal roof collapse.
When an hour later their roof was now blocking the front door, a roofing company paid them a visit.
“It was very surprising,” Bernadette Hurst begins to explain, holding up several flyers from roofing companies. “I have no idea how they find out where the damage is or where to go, especially in an isolated incident like this.”
In fact, it’s the only one on the whole street to see any damage.
Since the storm hit on Thursday, the homeowner says seven different roofing companies have already come to his house unsolicited to try and sell them a roof.
None of these roofers were solicited by Bernadette’s insurance company.
“I had no idea they would come so quickly,” says Hurst. “We didn’t bring in people with interior restoration. There were only the roofers.
Jamie Hoover is the COO of Blanchard Insurance. She says a big problem with some roofing companies is that their bid or claim is so high that it incentivizes a homeowner to expand their business, which is ultimately bad business for insurance companies.
“If the insurance company pushes that to court, to a trial, sometimes you’re looking at a multiple of 600% once an attorney is involved,” Hoover says. “So they’re just cutting the check, instead of pushing it to court and going through the court process.”
The Insurance Information Institute believes that Florida’s property insurance market is the most volatile in the United States and desperately needs the results of any special session.
“He is on a trajectory towards collapse,” said Mark Friedlander, spokesman for III. “Based on the current situation we’re seeing with home insurers failing or about to fail or withdraw from the state.”
All because of rampant roof replacement programs and rampant litigation. In 2021, Florida recorded 116,000 real estate claim lawsuits. No other state had more than 900.
To date, the seven roofers who have seen Bernadette have given their opinion on her roof, and none have been contacted by her insurer.
“Nobody promised anything,” insists Hurst. “They just said they thought we would get full replacement value.”
Bernadette’s metal roof is also 20 years old.
News 13 has reached out to the Central Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association to comment on the story, but they say they have a membership meeting in the coming weeks and are discussing the issue and the state’s potential special session then.
In 2017, when Hurricane Irma hit central Florida, Seminole County reported 2,463 reroofing permits were issued. In 2020, when no named storms hit the area, the number was 3,518. Last year, the county reports 4,394 reroofing permits were issued.