Florida’s landscape has a great propensity for sinkhole activity, which causes extensive damage to policyholders’ property. The Florida Legislature has passed many laws regulating the adjustment and remediation of sinkhole claims.
One of the most important sinkhole statutes is Florida Statute 627.707(5)(a), which involves the remediation of the sinkhole and the obligation of the carrier to repair the policyholder’s property.
Florida Statute 627.707(5)(a) states:
If a sinkhole loss is verified, the insurer shall pay to stabilize the land and building and repair the foundation….
This statute is important because carriers often fail to properly remediate confirmed sinkhole claims. Most policyholders are at an extreme disadvantage because they have no idea of the different methods to remediate sinkholes and the carrier’s obligations under the policies and Florida Statute 627.707(5)(a). This statute requires the carrier to “stabilize the land and building and repair the foundation.” If sinkhole activity is causing certain measurable damage to the policyholder’s foundation, the carrier is required to repair it.
The most common remediation plan recommended by carriers includes only pumping grout below the structure. If sinkhole activity has damaged the foundation of the property, this “grout” only remediation plan fails to address the carrier’s obligation to repair the foundation. The most common repair method utilized to repair the foundation includes underpinning the structure to limerock beneath the surface.
It is important for policyholders to know their rights under their insurance policies and Florida Statutes. If you find yourself dealing with an insurance claim, I strongly recommend that you seek advice from competent professionals who can help navigate your claim.