Analysts at Triple-I have warned that a huge inundation of lawsuits by trial lawyers in Florida could seriously slow down insurance reform benefits for consumers in the state.
In the wake of Florida’s enactment of historic tort reform legislation, Triple-I notes that the state’s trial lawyers have responded by dumping tens of thousands of lawsuits into the courts.
According to a report from the Florida Bar Association, trial lawyers filed a record 280,122 lawsuits between March 1 and March 23 to beat the state’s tort overhaul that severely limits their avenues to profit off frivolous litigation.
These reforms, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law on March 24th, should provide a significant filter for the courts in the future by ending many of the worst manipulations of Florida’s legal system, analysts suggest.
But Triple-I also believes that this last-ditch effort by trial lawyers will likely further delay consumers from benefiting from the new reforms as the load of cases slowly makes its way through Florida’s court system.
“The new cases could create a historic backlog and ensure insurers shell out billions of dollars in legal fees for the foreseeable future, which would further threaten Florida’s weakened insurance market, which has 24 insurers still facing the risk of insolvency,” Triple-I explains.
“This will make it even harder for Florida’s insurance market to stabilize, which was the intent of the reforms in the first place.”
And while continued market destabilization is clearly bad for the insurance industry, experts also point out the harm it does to consumers, with trial lawyers often using deceptive marketing tactics to convince consumers into filing a lawsuit.
“With the regulatory battle against legal system abuse moving beyond the legislative stage, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure the market and consumers can see the full benefits of the new reforms,” Triple-I concludes.
“Lawmakers need robust reform implementation that ensures loopholes stay closed and new ones don’t appear. For consumers, industry leaders must communicate the long-term benefits of Florida’s reforms (if implemented correctly) and explain the remaining hurdles between them and better coverage options.”