BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- A Florida property management company is suing its insurer, alleging breach of contract after being denied coverage for sinkhole damage.
RJO Management filed a lawsuit April 24 in the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court for Hernando County, against Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, alleging failure to provide coverage
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RJO Management, which also does business as Express Oil Change & Service Center, owns a building at 20145 Cortez Blvd. Brooksville. After purchasing an insurance policy through Ohio Casualty, the suit says, RJO discovered problems with the structure, including physical damage to the walls and floors.
The company’s geotechnical engineering expert found the cause of the damage to be sinkhole activity under the foundation, which the company alleges “is a covered peril” under the insurance policy. After RJO Management applied for benefits under the policy, Ohio Casualty reportedly failed or refused to cover the damage.
“The defendant has failed and refuses to pay all benefits to which the plaintiff is entitled for its loss and thus has breached the policy of insurance,” the complaint said.
There is also a dispute about whether the insurance company complied with testing standards governed by law. RJO Management retained an expert who said the geotechnical testing conducted by Ohio Casualty’s engineering firm did not comply.
The suit alleges Ohio Casualty was required to develop a remediation plan “in consultation with the policyholder.”
“Due to the defendant’s failure to extend coverage for this loss, the plaintiff is uncertain as to its rights and duties pursuant to Section 627.707(5)(a), Florida Statutes,” the complaint said.
The management company seeks damages in excess of $15,000, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs.
“The plaintiff is entitled to the full cost of repair to the insured structure, including but not limited to, restoration of the foundation, ground stabilization, structural repairs, cosmetic repairs, monies for loss of use and any other benefit available under the policy,” the complaint said.