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Senate Bill 914

Say “No” to proposed Senate Bill 914!

Why are these additions important to residential homeowners or commercial business owners with insurance policies or insurance claims? Senate Bill 914 proposes important additions to Florida Statute 627.428. This Florida Statute currently allows a law firm or an attorney to represent the public and litigate insurance claims at a 0% contingency fee if they are willing to bear the risk of the cost in order to fight on behalf of the insured when they are being mistreated by a for-profit insurance company.

627.428 Attorney fees.

(1) Upon the rendition of a judgment or decree by any of the courts of this state against an insurer and in favor of any named or omnibus insured or the named beneficiary under a policy or contract executed by the insurer, the trial court or, in the event of an appeal in which the insured or beneficiary prevails, the appellate court shall adjudge or decree against the insurer and in favor of the insured or beneficiary a reasonable sum as fees or compensation for the insured’s or beneficiary’s attorney prosecuting the suit in which the recovery is had.

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/STATUTES/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.428.html

The proposed addition to the statute limits the amount a court may award for attorney’s fees to a lodestar fee. A lodestar fee requires a court to determine the number of hours reasonably expended by the attorney. It then multiplies that number by a reasonable rate. Florida Patient’s Comp. Fund v. Rowe, 472 So. 2d 1145 (1990).

This bill essentially would limit the amount an attorney can be paid for taking the risk of filing a lawsuit on a 0% contingency fee basis against an insurance company that has a history of underpaying claims. So if the bill passes with its current language or modifies the lodestar fee included in Florida Statute 627.428 then many insured that have been intentionally underpaid may not get the best legal representation without a percentage being taken out of their property insurance claim award if successful in litigation.

If the State Legislature limits what an attorney can be paid then you are essentially hurting Florida homeowners and business owners who have been mistreated, underpaid, and not afforded coverage when coverage should have been granted. Senate Bill 914 will hurt the insureds and help the for-profit insurance companies. Please contact your local state senator and tell him to vote “NO” on Senate bill 914. It’s in the public’s best interest for law firms to have a greater potential fee incentive awarded by the court in order to bear the cost of litigation on a 0% contingency fee basis for an insured.

Insurance Companies are for-profit companies and are not in business to lose money. It is widely known to those of us in the industry that they deny, delay, and defend claims to increase profits. They have more money and lawyers at their disposal to defend, deny, and delay claims then an insured. Laws should be enacted to protect the public and give them the same right to have legal counsel if needed to allow them the ability to be paid fairly on an insurance claim. Please consider that one senior citizen that is living month to month in a home he/she has spent 30 years paying off and survives on a social security check. They should have the right to legal representation when needed if he/she is being treated unfairly by a for-profit insurance company.

A Public Adjuster only has so many resources at their disposal to help and insured reach an amicable settlement. At Experienced Public Adjusters, we are the best at representing the public’s best interest when they have an insurance claim. We know the industry in most cases better than attorney when it comes to assessing the damages and negotiating a fair settlement with an Insurance Company. We also benefit the insured by usually being able to settle claims in a timely fashion instead of an insured having to endure the lengthy process of litigating an insurance claim. However, a situation can arise where a Public Adjuster reaches an impasse with an insurance company and in order to act in the best interest of the insured, we would advise them it may be time for them to consult with an attorney.  An attorney can in some situations be the best option for an insured to reach a fair outcome with their for-profit insurance company.

Say “NO” to Senate Bill 914!

To learn more about Senate Bill 914 please click on the link below.

http://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/914

Here is a list of the phone numbers of each Senator’s office. Look up your Senate District and call your Senator after doing your research and provide him/her with your opinion on Senate Bill 914!

http://flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/ADMINISTRATIVEPUBLICATIONS/sdir.pdf