The insurance industry’s source to Florida sinkhole claims and investigations is now being made available to the public by a Tampa based company called Sinkhole Assistance.com.
The new internet connection is based on data collected through private engineering companies and various state records.
Rebecca Keiver, founder of the new website source says she “felt compelled” to make the data and resources available to the public in the wake of the new concerns about sink hole activity across the state.
Last year Florida saw four sinkholes including a depression that spanned 60 feet across and 15 feet deep at Disney’s Summer Bay Resort in Clermont.
“I’ve not viewed a level of sinkhole destruction like we viewed in 2013," Keiver said. “One is unusual, four in a year would be an indication that the situation is getting worse.”
The situation depends on the weather. Long dry spells followed by bursts of rainfall could set the stage for what Keiver calls the "perfect storm” for sinkholes.
In an exclusive interview with Local 6, the veteran insurance adjustor said this is the first time this sort of data has been made available to the public.
According to Keiver, access to the information has always been limited to insurance companies.
The new site allows you to type in an address to get a specific count of so-called sinkhole indicators within a one mile radius of the property you select. The website has records from more than 35,000 Florida sinkhole cases.
According to Keiver, indicators identify any properties where a settlement investigation or a sinkhole investigation was completed or where a geological sinkhole condition or ground dropout has occurred.
The maps provided on the site trace a history of sinkholes on specific properties. Red dots indicate a sinkhole was confirmed at that location, yellow dots represent sinkhole indicators.
The initial information is free. That simply tells you if there are sinkhole indicators near your home.
The more detailed information that includes a street level map, and a PDF copy of the report usually costs $39.99, but Local 6 viewers will be able to purchase the information for $19.99.
Greg Kaszas, an engineer with Innovative Engineering of Orlando, says there are early indications of sinkhole activity every homeowner should be aware of. Kaszas says when he investigates a site for potential sinkhole stress he will always ask the resident if they hear unusual pops or noises at night.
Kaszas says cracks in the interior and exterior are indicators of possible sink hole activity, along with visible depressions in the yard. But the conclusive evidence comes from “subsurface testing.”