Yet Another Massive Florida Sinkhole

It is amazing to me that no one was harmed when this sinkhole swallowed 30% of a resort villa near Disneyworld last night. The photos and video, seen on www.tampabay.com are amazing. The video resembles a building demolition, with three stories collapsing in seconds. According to the article, security guard Richard Shanley is a hero, after going room to room to wake guests as the building began to crumble.

The sinkhole is 40-50 feet in diameter, and there is no report of any prior sinkhole activity on the property. After all of the years of change in Florida's sinkhole laws, one might be concerned with whether the owners of the property have sinkhole insurance. The legislature, with help from the insurance companies, have made it much harder to get sinkhole insurance, and to get reimbursed when a sinkhole damages real property. That may not be a concern though, as this is likely enough damage to be classified as "catastrophic ground cover collapse", and most residential insurance policies cover such damage, even if "sinkhole" coverage is excluded. "Catastrophic ground cover collapse" is defined as "geological activity that results in all of the following: 1) the abrupt collapse of ground cover; 2) a depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye; 3) structural damage to the building including the foundation; and 4) the insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the government agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure."

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