By Martie Thompson
Caitlin Polly and her family now live just a few miles from her teenage home. Her parents and three siblings moved to NW St. Johns County from Mandarin when she started high school. She attended St. Joseph High School and ultimately graduated from Bartram Trail High School, where she was involved in sports like basketball and volleyball. She went to Florida State University and then moved back to St. Johns while she earned her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. She works for Kanner & Pintaluga as a first party property attorney who represents homeowners and business owners with insurance coverage disputes, a great deal of which are the result of wind/hail storms and hurricanes. She is married to Jason Polly, an analyst with the US Army and also a member of the Army National Guard, who is from St. Augustine. They have a blended family of five children, ranging in age from one to 14. In a full-circle moment, their oldest child started at Bartram Trail this school year.
Q: How did you become interested in first party property law?
A: I have always been interested in construction and I kind of fell into my first job as a first party property attorney. It’s a niche area of law and I grew to love it and have a passion for it. I’ve worked on behalf of insurance companies, but in my job now I work for the plaintiff/property owner. It’s common for homeowners to disagree with their insurance company’s determination of the amount of a claim and this is where I would come in. With my new job with Kanner & Pintaluga, I was offered the exciting opportunity to start a St. Johns County branch of the firm.
Q: Do you have any tips for homeowners from your expertise?
A: The first thing is you should actually read through or at least be familiar with your homeowners insurance policy because each one is different. Pay special attention to the section “Duties After Loss,” which outlines things like the homeowner’s duty to report the loss to the insurance company, to continue to protect the property, and document everything. Also, especially in St. Johns County where we have experienced such a dramatic increase in property values, it is important to make sure your policy covers the full value of your house in the event of a loss — especially what it takes to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.
Q: How did you meet your husband?
A: We actually both went to Bartram Trail High School and he asked me out a few times, but I always told him no. We went our separate ways, but remained friends. Over time, we each married others and had two children apiece before divorcing. Then we remet in 2016 via remaining friendly on social media. We rekindled the flame and married in 2018. We have one son together in our blended family.
Q: Why did you decide to raise your family in St. Johns County?
A: My husband and I both have strong ties to the community. We both have families here and when I had children at a young age, I felt it was important to have the support of family while I continued going to law school.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: The majority of my time spent not working is shuttling kids to activities! I will say that with five kids, a full time job and a military spouse, it’s a never ending balancing game. I’m a mom first and it helps that I’m passionate about my job, but every day I try to do my best to find balance.
This past summer, we made a point to buy the Florida State Park passes for our family and we’ve been making good use of them. Since June, we’ve been to approximately 10 State Parks. Our favorites so far have been Silver Springs (my kids loved the glass bottom boats) and Ravine Gardens (we enjoyed the hiking trails and suspension bridge.)
Photo courtesy Caitlin Polly
Caitlin Polly and family.