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Public Adjuster Offers Further Comments on Florida Sinkhole Insurance

Public adjuster Keith Grams of Tutwiler & Associates was recently interviewed by WFLA and NBC News about sinkhole insurance repair issues. He offers further comments regarding concerns about the direction the insurance companies and legislature are taking.

For many years the Florida legislature and the insurance industry have systematically weakened coverage for sinkholes.  Last week’s massive sinkhole in Dunedin, FL is a reminder that sinkholes continue to be a prevalent part of much of Florida’s landscape.

I have always stated that sinkhole claims are very complex.  There are many facets that come into play and the insurance companies hire an assortment of experts to conduct their investigation.  Continual changes to the sinkhole insurance law makes it even harder for homeowners to know how they should proceed if they have concerns about sinkhole related damage. 

For example, in 2011, the Florida legislature watered down sinkhole insurance by changing the definition of a sinkhole loss to include certain specific structural damage.  As a result of this change, homeowners could see cracks developing in their home that are not covered under their insurance, even if those cracks are caused by sinkhole activity. 

While this may seem absurd, it is the homeowner’s new sinkhole insurance reality in Florida.

I believe in the longer term, this could have disastrous consequences for the insurance industry and homeowners alike.  Homeowners may simply decide not to report cracks in their homes until those cracks become very significant.  Consequently, the sinkhole conditions beneath their homes may continue to get worse until finally, you have a massive sinkhole open up and devour the home and everything in it. Higher costs for the insurance industry and ongoing danger for homeowners.

Hopefully, there will not be loss of life when this happens.  Let us know what you think.

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