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Florida’s Legislators Were Motivated to Reform Property Insurance Due to a Recent Rise in Sinkhole Claims

sinkhole.jpgInsurance companies may have won another battle to raise rates on hard working Floridians. They may have convinced Florida’s lawmakers to free them from providing comprehensive sinkhole coverage. Even though there is evidence which demonstrates that the rise in sinkhole claims are wholly legitimate, our legislators decided to side with insurance companies complaining about fraud and frivolous sinkhole claims. According to geologists, the recent rise in sinkhole reports can be attributed to the weather.

According to one geologist, you can almost predict sinkholes will occur when its dry and lots of water is pumped into an area. Also, the combination of low water levels and a big rain will lead to sinkholes. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at some facts.

Between 1991 and 1998, we received normal levels of rainfall and 55 sinkholes were reported each year during that time period. From 1999 to 2001, we faced drought conditions and then the average number of reported sinkholes rose to 93 a year. The spike can be attributed to large amounts of water being pumped during the dry spell.

Currently, Hillsborough County is ripe for sinkholes because of the 2010 drought which was followed by a cold winter that saw many farmers pump water to protect their crops. In 2010, there were 171 sinkholes reported to the Department of Environmental Protection. 150 were in Hillsborough.

Despite a wholly innocent explanation for the rise in sinkhole claims, bills are being proposed that would remove the requirement for insurance companies to offer comprehensive sinkhole coverage. Some bills are proposing that insurance companies will only be required to offer coverage for total ground collapse, which basically means a whole structure falls into the sinkhole.

Its quite the shame that our elected officials are not taking into account the opinions of geologists who are providing an honest explanation for the rise in sinkhole claims. Sadly, it appears that our State can’t stand up to an insurance company when they are not telling the whole truth.

At Alvarez & Barbara, LLP we don’t take an insurance company for their word. On a daily basis, we aggressively represent homeowners, and businesses, who need help standing up to their insurance companies when they have been mistreated. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you find yourself having difficulty with your insurance company.

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