The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. was hit with 7,899 lawsuits during the first nine months of 2021, as it saw an increase in new and pending cases, according to an executive summary prepared for a committee of the Citizens Board of Governors. The average of 878 new lawsuits a month from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 was a 45 percent increase over the same period in 2020. Also, as of Sept. 30, Citizens had 16,240 pending lawsuits, a 34 percent increase from a year earlier. The executive summary, prepared for a Thursday meeting of the board’s Claims Committee, said 7,798 of the new lawsuits this year involved residential properties. Of those, 6,623, or 85 percent, were from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, a so-called “tri-county” area where Citizens has large numbers of customers. “While the tri-county area continues to lead the state in lawsuit volume, we continue to experience an increasing trend of new, incoming lawsuits arising out of the Central West (Tampa area) region and other areas of the state,” the executive summary said. Lawmakers this spring passed a measure (SB 76) that included steps to try to curb lawsuits against property insurers. But the executive summary said it is too early to see the impact of the measure on litigation. Citizens had 725,942 policies as of Oct. 31, as it has seen heavy growth amid financial problems in the private insurance market.

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