Hartford Ins. Co. Denies Claim For Sinkhole Damage

By Lea Ann Overstreet, MTCN Writer
The News Examiner
December 14, 2005

PORTLAND - Troy and Yvonne Givens, the Portland couple whose home was swallowed by a sinkhole, have learned that their insurance company will not cover them for the disaster.

"I don’t know what we’re going to do. I have no idea how we’ll pay for this,” Troy Givens said.

Hartford Insurance, which is based in Connecticut, has denied the Givens’ insurance claim. Givens says the company is still working to help him, but he worries that the answer will stay “no.”

“The insurance company is trying to get their lawyers to pursue this, but I don’t feel real good about it. Right now it looks like we’re loosing everything,” Givens said.

But Yvonne Givens is not ready to take “no” for an answer.

“I know that people have said this is a sinkhole, but I don’t think it’s an ordinary sinkhole. Something has caused it and I want it investigated,” she said.

The insurance agent working with the Givens, Paul Fuqua at Shannon Insurance in Portland, could not immediately be reached for comment.

It’s still hard for the couple to talk about what has happened to them.

It’s been over two weeks, but the heartache they felt on the morning of Nov. 29 has not dissipated.

The Givens’ woke early that day and discovered that much of their house had fallen into a giant hole that opened under the house while the couple slept.

Sometime during the night, the sinkhole collapse, as it has been called by geologists, opened and took possessions, family heirlooms and a variety of belongings.

The couple has been waiting anxiously for word of whether or not their insurance would cover them. As of today, they are on their own.

“We’ve worked all our lives to have our home and now what? On top of losing our house, It will be my responsibility to fix the hole,” Givens said.

And the hole is large. It began underneath the Givens’ utility room, which was converted from a garage. It moved outward to the back of the house, but the hole continued to spread, moving to the front and causing the porch to fall.

Little by little, the Givens watch almost daily as their home is destroyed and wonder how they will survive and afford the loss.

“If they don’t find a way to cover us, we’re going to need help. I don’t know from where, but we’re going to need it so we pray every day,” Givens said.

Copyright © 2005 The Nashville Tennessean

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