June 7, 2016

Today’s video is about dealing with sinkhole claims in Tampa, Florida.  More specifically, with condominiums.

Dealing with Sinkhole Claims in Tampa Florida

I’ve been handling sinkhole insurance claims now as a lawyer for going on two decades. There is no question in my mind when asked “what is the most complicated case that you work on?” It would be dealing with sinkhole claims involving a condominium. Why is that?

Why Condominium Claims Are Complicated

Well if you’re talking about a single family residence you’re dealing with one building, you’re dealing with one individual, and one insurance company. When you’re dealing with condominiums, you are dealing with multiple individuals, multiple buildings, often times multiple insurance companies, over multiple years. When we’re hired by a condominium owner, we’re often hired by the homeowners’ association that governs the entire property. Many of the associations that we’ve dealt with in the past have involved a number of unit owners. I’m talking about hundreds of units. Sometimes we’re dealing with hundreds of buildings where we’ve had duplex that are represented in a homeowners’ association times 120. In that particular situation, we have to establish a relationship that could last for years. Many times, these condominium cases will take anywhere from three, four, and I’ve seen them go as many as eight years. You can imagine during an eight-year time span involving 120 units with 240 owners because they’re duplexes, for example. You’re having to establish relationships with condominium associations that homeowners’ associations president could change every year. Now this presents a lot of challenges for us, and we’ve developed very specific protocols for how to deal with them.

Number one:

We establish very tight technical boundaries for how we gather the information. Being able to use a lot of the recent technology to manage documents allow us to be able to get access to information and to share that information with a wide variety of experts.

Number Two:

Second of all, we have to develop a relationship with a condo association board that allows us to record our conversations with them in a secure way. We use computers and software to do that, and that way we have an enormous amount of information: all of the engineering reports, all of the information we have on estimates associated with the damages, the history of the individual properties, and we maintain that information in a database that can be shared in a secure way with the individual unit owners. And why is that? Because with that many people with that many homes involved, a sinkhole claim for a condominium can literally consume the entire efforts of the homeowners’ association. But unfortunately, insurance companies, especially insurance companies like Citizens Property Insurance Corporation here in Florida, they can drag these claims out for years and cost tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

We bring a level of experience in dealing with these things over the last twenty years that allows us to do it effectively and efficiently and to bring success to the homeowners’ association that has such an important responsibility in protecting the property of the individual unit owners. If you need help with your insurance claim or just understanding your insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.CorlessBarfield.com or give us a call. You take care of your family, and we’ll take care of the insurance company.