We have posted many, many times about the debate raging on over structural damage and how Homewise Preferred Insurance Company has been at the forefront of that debate. To recap, Homewise has argued for the past year or so that even if they investigate and find sinkhole activity at a property, if that property does not have damage severe enough to be considered structural they don’t have to pay. Homewise insureds all over the state, and many in my office, have been left in the cold with a report finding sinkhole activity, towering repair costs in the hundreds of thousands and their insurance company refusing to help.
We also posted several months ago that we had been victorious against this argument based upon Homewise’s own error. Homewise includes a form in all of their policies that allows homeowners to reject or accept sinkhole loss coverage. This form advises homeowners in plain language that if you want sinkhole coverage we will provide it to you and we will cover any physical damage you have to your home. Then, when the homeowners receive the policy endorsement, it tells them we will only cover you if you have structural damage. Our office was again successful in making this argument yesterday afternoon. As a side note, even the presiding judge seemed to indicate that this was a borderline bait and switch scheme.
Now, in a shear act of desperation, Homewise Preferred has resulted to filing lawsuits against their own insureds. That is right. The same insureds we discussed above that have been denied sinkhole coverage by Homewise, now Homewise is suing them in return. Talk about adding insult to injury. The argument Homewise is making is that the sinkhole rejection/acceptance form that says they will insure the home for any physical damage was mistakingly placed in the policy!!!! They further argue that the mistake was mutual!!! In other words, they allege that the homeowners knew that this form should not have been in their policies and that the homeowners knew they should have only been covered for structural damage. Folks, this is quite possibly the most ridiculous legal argument I have ever seen, I can not even sugar coat this one. It is amazing how homeowners and their attorneys get such a bad rap in Tallahassee when stuff like this is taking place in plain sight. The public needs to know this is going on even if Tallahassee wants to bury their heads.