This is an entry published by Ted Corless on his site www.czlegal.com. We were particularly fond of re-posting this as this firm is co-counseling this case that Mr. Corless is referencing. We thank Ted for sharing his thoughts and saving us the time of writing on the same case twice. Tower Hill is en extremely difficult carrie to work with and is WELL known in the industry right now for their tactics. The company is privately owned and run by a single individual that answers to no one else, making life a lot more difficult for all of us.
“Under Florida law, under Section 627.7074, an insurance company or an insured is entitled to demand “neutral evaluation” for sinkhole losses. In general, the State of Florida will appoint a professional engineer or a professional geologist to evaluate the nature of the claim, and scrutinize the repair method being suggested by the engineering firms involved in a claim. An insurer and an insured may also demand neutral evaluation when there is a dispute regarding whether there is or is not a sinkhole present at all. Once the evaluation is complete, the neutral evaluator issues a report, which is then admissible in a trial where a jury hears the evidence. Quite honestly, most insured’s do not ask for it because most of the neutral evaluators are active vendors of the insurance industry and do not necessarily take a balanced approach. Sure, many do, but many don’t. In the end, I keep most of my clients out of it because it’s a bit of a gamble.
You’d figure that if a large insurance company like Tower Hill demands neutral evaluation, you’d figure they would agree to follow the recommendation of the neutral evaluator. It costs money to do this, and delays the entire claim process. If you figured that they’d listen, you figured wrong. I have several cases where Tower Hill waits until the 11th hour after months or even years of litigation to do this. They then pull the switch, mostly when they are looking at going in front of a jury on these issues, just in time to dispatch their lawyers to use the process to delay any payments. Even after the neutral evaluator tells them how to fix the homes involved (many times telling them their original engineers were wrong), and even after they asked courts to delay litigation, no money is paid.”