$65 million in 2016 funding is approved by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. for Florida defense law firms selected to serve on one or more of its five panels.
In the recent past Citizens operated its panel counsel program under three separate contracts, each with an initial expiration period of February 2016. In 2015, the carrier decided to consolidate all panel members under one contract. Accordingly, RFP No. 15-0023 for Claims Legal Services was released for bid in August, 2015. The law firms selected for the Citizens Insurance panel were announced on November 10, 2015.
The Citizens Insurance panel retains defense law firms in the five service areas listed below. The number of law firms on each panel is also indicated.
- First party property (93 law firms)
- Third party liability (62 firms)
- Subrogation (18 firms)
- Collections (4 firms)
- Appellate (31 law firms)
Approximately 100 Florida defense law firms are approved as panel counsel for at least one Citizens panel, with several law firms participating in multiple service areas. The new contracts are expected to have a five year base term, with two optional, one-year renewals.
Funding of the Citizens Claims Litigation Management Program is budgeted at $65 million for 2016, and is scheduled to decline by $5 million per year until it reaches a funding level of $35 million in 2022.
There is no requirement that Citizens pay any minimum amount to an individual law firm, and the amount spent under the contract will vary with litigation volume.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was created by the Florida Legislature in August 2002 as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, government entity. Its mission is to provide insurance protection to Florida policyholders who are entitled to but are unable to find property insurance coverage in the private market.
The firm is pursuing a “depopulation” program to shift policies to the private market. As of September 2015, Citizens held under 586,000 policies from a peak of nearly 1.5 million policies in 2012.
The reduction in policies has caused a reduction in the volume of litigation claims, and represents a trend that Citizens expects to continue.
In an earlier, somewhat controversial move, Citizens expanded its Coordinating Counsel program for sinkhole claims by entering into a contract in 2013 for Coordinating Counsel managing all claims litigation (Claims Litigation ITN 13-0015). A West Palm Beach law firm was awarded a contract Coordinating Counsel valued at $6.5 million. The proposed contract term was three years, with an optional one-year renewal.
Click on the link for information on law firm panel counsel members of Citizens Insurance as recommended November, 2015.