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The news of the presumed death of a Seffner man as a result of a sinkhole cave-in under his home has shocked everyone, particularly those who live in the sinkhole prone Central Florida area. But to law firms like CGWC experienced in litigating sinkhole claims against property insurers for home damage, many questions arise. We don’t know the history of this home, or whether it had been checked for sinkhole activity, but could this sinkhole and death have been prevented? Was the home tested by any insurer or their paid engineers before the collapse? If so, was there evidence of sinkhole activity? Was the family warned?
In any event, this tragedy highlights the unfairness of insurers’ recent demands for laws that restrict the definitions of sinkhole activity and limit their responsibility to repair and correct sinkhole activity on insured properties. It is unfair to Florida consumers and homeowners to enact laws that take the place of good engineering judgment of what does and doesn’t present a sinkhole risk on a given piece of property. Even more importantly, restricting home insurers’ exposure for sinkhole reparations needlessly endangers Floridians who live in the sinkhole-prone zone of Central Florida. Insurers are currently lobbying the Florida Legislature for more anti-consumer legislation on sinkhole insurance claims. We hope that the Florida Legislature will take notice that this is not only an issue of basic fairness for homeowners, but also a public safety issue.