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Sinkholes prompt battle between residents and insurer

People in San Antonio rely on their homes to not only protect them from the elements, but also to provide them and their families with a safe haven from which they can escape the stresses of their jobs and other responsibilities. When damages to their homes render them incapable of providing those benefits, that reliance shifts to their insurers to correct said damages and restore residents' peace-of-mind. One can imagine, then, just how disheartening it may be for one in such a situation to learn that his or her insurer has no intention of providing the relief he or she is seeking. 

Not merely one, but 83 property owners in Florida are currently having to struggle with such a predicament. Their problems began back in 2010, when signs of sinkhole activity began to appear around their condominium community. As the problems worsened, resident's (through the homeowners' association) began filing insurance claims. The company insuring the community, however, has denied all of the claims it has received. No explanations were given for the initial denials, yet subsequent claims have been denied based off of new legislation passed in Florida in 2011 (the HOA correctly points out, however, that the law should not apply in this case since it did not exist when the community bought its policy). 

Residents have filed multiple lawsuits against the insurer, which has fought them all. Allegations of operating in bad faith and "judge shopping" have been made by attorneys representing the residents, along with claims that the problems have caused property values in the community to plummet. 

This case serves to illustrate just how far some insurers may go to avoid paying claims. Those who need help in getting their insurers to do just that may be wise to secure the services of an attorney. 

Source: Tampa Bay Times "Citizens, hit with $12.7 million verdict, acted in 'monumental bad faith,' homeowner says" Martin, Susan Taylor, Mar. 14, 2018

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