About 300 homeowners have agreed to settle their disputed sinkhole claims with Citizens Property Insurance, the company announced Wednesday, leaving an estimated 1,800 more lawsuits still unresolved.
The group settlement involves policyholders who were challenging the state-run insurance company for failing to agree to the method and cost of repair for sinkhole damage to their homes.
The company has watched as lawsuits have ballooned in recent years as most homeowners were challenging Citizens for forcing them to repair their homes by putting grout in the ground instead of underpinning their homes with steel beams, or both.
The policies included in the settlement were all represented by the Clermont law firm of Boyette, Cummins and Nailos. The cost to Citizens for making the repairs have not yet been determined but the avoided legal fees and streamlined repair procedure is expected to save the company about $30 million, said Citizens spokesman Michael Peltier.
“Our message to policyholders and the courts is if there is a confirmed sinkhole, we do want to repair the home – but we do not want to write a blank check,’’ said Dan Sumner, Citizens general counsel, at the company’s board meeting in Orlando Wednesday.