As our regular readers may recall, last month we reported a revealing set of findings by a Florida blog that connected a handful of plaintiffs’ law firms to the vast majority of litigation against state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp.  Since then, the same blogger, Johnson Strategies, did a little more public records digging and found similar results with the public adjusters that deal with Citizens claims.

For example, he reported that the top 10 PAs accounted for roughly half of all the Citizens claims reported.  In other words, “that’s 10% of $23 million for ten public adjusters or about $230,000 each.”

Although the law allows PAs to get a bigger cut from claims against private insurers, Citizens remains the lower-hanging fruit, as many private insurers possess better in-house mechanisms to fight frivolous claims–not to mention higher-paid lawyers.  Despite this, the overall increases in property insurance claims and their payouts over the past few years has led to increased costs and thus higher insurance rates for consumers across the board:

On a statewide average basis the typical Florida home owner funds nearly $600 in routine, non-catastrophic losses; kitchen fires, dropped objects, water leakage, etc. That’s up from $250 just five years ago.  Without a single wind event of any significance, and adjusted for taxes and commissions, that’s over $400 more for every policyholder in the state, every year! And, much of it comes from areas of high public adjuster concentration.

He further observed that several PAs have given themselves curious names.  For example, some appear to share names with a few of the law firms that do a a lot of Citizens litigation.  Others have names that may sound like company adjusters for some of Florida’s larger insurers, including Citizens, which might make people think it has an official connection to the state-run insurer.

Some PAs, he said, even have names that might make people assume it has an affiliation with the government.

This particular observation seems to have rattled one of the PAs to the point of threatening a lawsuit against the blogger if he didn’t “cease and desist and remove [their] name right away.”

The blogger shrugged it off, debunked its merits, and labeled it an (apparently futile) effort to limit his freedom of speech.  Needless to say, he did not remove the original reference.

The apparent attempt to limit the blogger’s constitutional right to free speech seems too obvious to address beyond this sentence.  The real question is: what would make a business threaten a lawsuit knowing that it will likely draw more attention to a negative story and broaden the seemingly narrow-issue audience of a critical blog?

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