September 8, 2016

Today’s video is dealing with sinkhole claims and the issue of structural damage.

Sinkhole Claims and the Issue of Structural Damage

If your insurance company has told you that you have structural damage, you’re half way home. Now what’s going to happen is they’re going to hire a geo-technical engineer. They’re going to come out to your house and they’re going to poke a bunch of holes in your yard. They’re going to go really deep and they’re looking for sinkhole activity. It’s at this point that the insurance company is going to decide whether you’ve met both requirements. There is structural damage, but is it the result of a sinkhole activity. This is where we usually get involved. Either because we would dispute the findings of the geo-technical engineer about the sinkhole activity or because even though the insurance company has found structural damage they might still argue that you don’t meet one of the five requirements under Florida law. Insurance companies don’t often need an explanation or reason why they have denied claims, and sometimes you’ll get a form letter from the insurance company essentially explaining to you that you’ve made a sinkhole claim, they did a structural assessment and found structural damage, but they’re still denying your claim. We would get involved at any of these points. Sometimes we get involved before the structural assessment, sometimes we involved after the geo-technical assessment to determine if there is sinkhole activity, or even when there has been confirmed sinkhole activity, but now the insurance company wants to dispute how we’re going to go about repairing it and putting your house back to its original condition. This is when we really go to work. It is because in order to get a sinkhole claim covered, you have to demonstrate that there has been structural damage and that the damage is the result of sinkhole activity. This means the insurance company has two different opportunities to deny your claim. Understand, most of the engineering firms that they are working with, work exclusively with insurance companies, which means that there’s certainly an argument that those engineering firms want to maintain a positive relationship with these insurance companies and they don’t want to overstate the significance of the damage. If the homeowner is involved in a claim like this and they have problems associated with the structural assessment, we can get involved and participate in that process to make sure the coverage is available. Or if there is an argument about sinkhole activity, we will sometimes hire our own geo-technical engineers to go out and do supplemental testing. And it’s at that point that we can do a lot of different things for our clients. Sometimes we will send the data to the engineering firms that were working with the insurance companies and try to convince them that they missed it or if the insurance company still won’t pay the claim, that’s when a lawsuit gets filed. If you more questions about the manner in which sinkholes activity is repaired give us a call. You take care of your family, we’ll take care of the insurance company.