More Florida sinkholes, no insurance coverage

TALLAHASSEE — Complaining about fraud, frivolous claims and people who spend insurance payouts on items other than home repairs, insurance companies have convinced lawmakers to free them from providing comprehensive sinkhole coverage.

But look at the numbers and it’s clear the recent increase in sinkhole claims has less to do with fraud and more to do with an increase in the number of sinkholes because of weather, geologists say.

In fact, from 2006 to 2010, only 203 sinkhole claims were reported to the Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud — less than 1 percent of total claims reported, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation. The number of alleged fraudulent claims peaked in 2007 at about 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the total number of sinkhole claims increased 184 percent from 2,360 to 6,694, and that number is expected to rise.

That shouldn’t be surprising.

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