FAS3 Believes that Public Safety is Foundational to Sinkhole Insurance Legislation

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A sinkhole industry association shares its thoughts on recent events.

The members of FAS3 have over 300 years of combined experience. Together they’ve either consulted or worked on over 20,000 sinkhole projects.

The Florida Association of Sinkhole Stabilization Specialists (FAS3) members were deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life that occurred recently in Seffner, FL due to a cover-collapse sinkhole.

Sinkholes are an unfortunate fact of life in Florida and in particular West Central Florida due the porous and soluble nature the limestone bedrock that underlies all of Florida. What may come as surprise to most is the fact that as many as 100 sinkhole investigations and/or remediation projects to arrest sinkhole activity are ongoing on any given day in West Central Florida alone.

Two years ago (May 2011) the Florida Legislature passed a sweeping property insurance reform bill known as SB 408. Included in this bill were major changes to sinkhole coverage. Some of those changes have adversely affected the availability and cost of insurance coverage, the definition of what constitutes an insured sinkhole loss and the deductible for a covered sinkhole loss. In addition the method of testing to determine if a sinkhole loss has occurred can now vary by insurance company to insurance company or even by engineer to engineer due to the ambiguity in interpretation of the law.

An engineer or geologist under the reformed law can find sinkhole activity and identify it as the cause of damage, however, if the damage does not qualify as “structural damage” as defined in SB 408, no sinkhole loss has occurred. Without a sinkhole loss having occurred, insurance coverage to stabilize the condition may not be available. Since no one can predict the rate of progression of sinkhole activity in manifesting itself into a collapsed sinkhole such as the one that occurred in Seffner last week, the filing and refiling of claims will become a tenuous situation in the weeks and months to come.

The members of FAS3 have over 300 years of combined experience. Together they’ve either consulted or worked on over 20,000 sinkhole projects. The goal of FAS3 has been and always will be public safety in conjunction with the ethical investigation and the proper repair of sinkhole claims. Therefore, we recommend that all concerned property owners self-inspect your property for unusual or new damage, contact your insurance company if any is seen and request a member of FAS3 be assigned to investigate and/or repair your property in the event that you have a sinkhole loss.

About Florida Association of Sinkhole Stabilization Specialists (FAS3)
FAS3 is an association of engineers, geologists and contractors concerned with the planning, design and construction of subsurface grouting and foundation stabilization. FAS3 was formed to: (1.) Set standards for conduct, workmanship and business practices for those involved in the profession, (2.) Improve and develop knowledge of new ideas and methodologies of subsurface grouting, foundation stabilization and related testing and to share that knowledge with other professionals and interested parties, (3.) Improve the understanding of sinkhole formation, investigation, evaluation, and remediation by educating the public, government bodies, and other interested parties and (4.) Encourage, fund, and participate in the practical application of research related to subsurface grouting and foundation stabilization, including providing educational opportunities for members of the organization, governmental officials, and the general public.

Media Contact:
Richard Hayes, (813) 956-6800 or rhayes(at)digitallightbridge(dot)com

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Richard W. Hayes, CEO