A 2012 contract with a West Palm Beach law firm was billed as helping state-run insurer Citizens better handle sinkhole lawsuits, but records show a third fewer cases were settled in 2013 and average monthly litigation costs more than doubled.

“It appears they are charging us more while doing less,” said state Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami and a public adjuster. “The staff of Citizens, who oversees this contract, is culpable and responsible for not keeping a tighter rein on the scope of the contract.”

Citizens officials said they have a responsibility to make sure homeowners receive valid repairs but not to pay unwarranted claims as they seek long-term savings, not a quick cut in costs.

“Citizens did not hire a coordinating counsel to reduce…

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