Section 627.707, Florida Statutes 2004
627.707 Minimum standards for investigation of sinkhole claims by insurers; nonrenewals.--
(1) Upon receipt of a claim for a sinkhole loss, an insurer must meet the following minimum standards in investigating a claim:
(a) Upon receipt of a claim for a sinkhole loss, the insurer must make an inspection of the insured's premises to determine if there has been physical damage to the structure which might be the result of sinkhole activity.
(b) If, upon the investigation pursuant to paragraph (a), the insurer discovers damage to a structure which is consistent with sinkhole activity or if the structure is located in close proximity to a structure in which sinkhole damage has been verified, then prior to denying a claim, the insurer must obtain a written certification from an individual qualified to determine the existence of sinkhole activity, stating that the cause of the claim is not sinkhole activity, and that the analysis conducted was of sufficient scope to eliminate sinkhole activity as the cause of damage within a reasonable professional probability. The written certification must also specify the professional discipline and professional licensure or registration under which the analysis was conducted.
(c) If the insurer obtains, pursuant to paragraph (b), written certification that the cause of the claim was not sinkhole activity, and if the policyholder has submitted the sinkhole claim without good faith grounds for submitting such claim, the policyholder shall reimburse the insurer for 50 percent of the cost of the analysis under paragraph (b); however, a policyholder is not required to reimburse an insurer more than $2,500 with respect to any claim. A policyholder is required to pay reimbursement under this paragraph only if the insurer, prior to ordering the analysis under paragraph (b), informs the policyholder of the policyholder's potential liability for reimbursement and gives the policyholder the opportunity to withdraw the claim.
(2) No insurer shall nonrenew any policy of property insurance on the basis of filing of claims for partial loss caused by sinkhole damage or clay shrinkage as long as the total of such payments does not exceed the current policy limits of coverage for property damage, and provided the insured has repaired the structure in accordance with the engineering recommendations upon which any payment or policy proceeds were based.
History.--s. 1, ch. 92-146; s. 4, ch. 93-401.