Mortgage rules frustrating flood victims
INDEPENDENCE - A flood victim says his mortgage company held onto his insurance money, instead of issuing it to him to help repair his home. Jeremy Anthony says he's been taking money out of his pocket and dipping into savings to repair his Independence home.
He called 2 On Your Side for help, which got the ball rolling and shortly after got Anthony some of the money he was looking for.
Anthony says he got just enough water in his home to ruin everything.
"We had to rip it out from the top to the bottom," said Anthony.
Since the August flood, there's been a lot of work done to Anthony's home and he's done most of it himself with the help of some friends and a church group. The home was gutted, everything taken out and tossed to the curb.
Anthony says his insurance adjuster visited promptly and awarded his family about $60,000 to make repairs.
"Told us we'd be receiving a check, shortly," he told WBRZ.
When Anthony got his check in the mail, it was in his name and the mortgage company's name. He called the company, Nationstar Mortgage to ask about his money and what he had to do next.
"They go and give me all these rules, regulations and stipulations of how we got to go about rebuilding my home," he said.
Anthony was told by Nationstar Mortgage he was to hire a licensed contractor and a representative needed to come inspect his home. But Anthony tells News Two he put up sheetrock well before he received a check from his insurance company.
He took money out of savings and his own pocket to buy the supplies. Tired of the back and forth, he called 2 On Your Side for help.
"After you had called and talked to them, they finally started to want to cooperate then," he said.
Nationstar Mortgage company sent Anthony a release asking for his signature to guarantee all of the insurance money would be used to repair his home.
The release was never signed and the mortgage company wired him $33,000 Friday evening.
Nationstar Mortgage tells WBRZ it's recommended that customers hire a licensed contractor to protect all parties involved. Anthony did not hire a licensed contractor, instead did the work himself, which can make for a difficult process between customer and mortgage company.
Nationstar says when a customer receives an insurance check, it's recommended they to sign that check and send it to their mortgage company along with the insurance adjuster worksheet and confirmation of hiring a licensed contractor. Nationstar says it typically sends a customer a third of their claim once that paperwork is received. Following an inspection by the mortgage company, a customer will receive another third and then the final third comes when the project is complete.
On any flood insurance payout, it's important to talk with the mortgage company, first and reach an understanding on who is going to do the work. Then understand when and how the money will be paid out to cover the expense of rebuilding.
WBRZ did a similar story involving a Wells Fargo Mortgage company customer last month.