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Florida Sinkhole Claims Are Under Attack by the Insurance Companies

2003-08-18_Sink_hole_in_the_parking_lot.jpgBetween 2006 and 2010 sinkhole claims in Florida have nearly quadrupled. Because of these figures, the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee stated something must be done to curb insurance companies’ sinkhole costs.

Although we haven’t been directly hit by a hurricane in five years, insurance companies have repeatedly asked the state for rate hikes due, in part, to an increase in claims for sinkholes and other damage.

The Office of Insurance Regulation recently conducted a survey of 211 private insurers. It found that in 2006 there were 2,360 sinkhole claims. In 2010, there were 6,694. These claims totaled $1.4 billion.

The Committee has made a few proposals for legislators to consider this coming term. They proposed that a state-run sinkhole repair program should be created. This means homeowners wouldn’t receive checks to repair sinkhole damage, but would have their houses fixed.

It recommends to define what kinds of damage a sinkhole could cause because many of the claims filed have been for damages that are difficult to link directly to a sinkhole. They also suggested limiting coverage to homes and excluding driveways, pools, decks, and other structures.

The Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters took issue with many of the recommendations. The Association’s president made the following comments: “While the recommendations for changes in the Florida Building Code have merit, the report as a whole lends great weight to insurance company interests at the expense of Florida homeowners.” He went on to state that “the report appears to be based heavily on unproven allegations by some insurers that the increase in sinkhole claims is somehow fraudulent.”
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Before opening our law firm in 2006, our attorneys worked for some of the state’s, and nation’s, largest law firms, and worked representing the insurance companies for years. Our attorneys are now uniquely positioned to use that experience to assist individuals and businesses alike throughout Florida with their insurance claims. As a result, our attorneys are well versed in the impact insurance has on businesses, condominiums, and individuals alike. Our insurance litigation practice group is prepared to tackle your insurance claim.

Given our extensive experience litigating for, and against, insurance companies, our insurance litigation practice group is prepared to provide aggressive, efficient and effective representation on a broad spectrum of insurance claims in Florida for local, national, and international clients. We are prepared to advocate insurance claims at the pre-suit stage, trial, appellate and arbitration levels.

If you are facing a dispute over an insurance claim in Florida, contact Alvarez & Barbara, LLP for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Call us today toll free at 1-866-518-2913 or at 305-263-7700.

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