Having built the Florida legal operations for a previous insurer employer, Montes was more than qualified to help Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reorganize its approach to litigation when he was hired four years ago as senior counsel, claims legal services. Read about his success, philosophies, and the trends he is watching.
Last Resort, First Priority
Montes says the state-run Citizens sets the tone in Florida when it comes to the homeowners’ insurance industry by the way it interacts with the Department of Insurance, the courts, and other regulatory agencies in the state. Because of that, he is aware of how his litigation affects insureds and the insurance market as a whole at both the trial and appellate level.
The Importance of Paying and Defending Claims Appropriately
“My job is to ensure that Citizens continues to earn its immunity from bad faith by making sure we operate in good faith.”
Montes says he is enamored with drones because they are not only useful in catastrophic claims where damage is widespread, but also because they are helpful in routine claims, like roof wind-damage losses. With that said, he acknowledges the privacy concerns and says users have to be aware of both federal and state privacy laws before using.
Earning His CPCU
“Earning the CPCU is no small feat. It’s arduous and challenging, but packed with great courses on risk management, economics, and law that bear on insurance.”
Montes says hurricanes are always on his radar, but assignment of benefits claims and litigation is another hot topic in Florida. He says the issue comes down to the reasonableness of the charges that forces litigation, which he believes is driven mainly by the Florida attorney fee statute. The real question, he says, is whether the fee statute is meant to protect corporations or the individual.
In His Free Time
“I am part of a non-profit that offers free history lessons on the Civil War to students. We recreate camp life, complete with tents, muskets, uniforms, food, games, and discussions of the politics leading up to the war.”