Thursday, August 20, 2015

Trying To Find My Om Place

The pace of work on our basement has increased daily for the past two weeks. Our construction crew is doing everything they can to try and get us back into the basement before the 25th of August, which marks the 8th month "anniversary" of our troubles.  They are hard-working young men who all seemingly pity us and all we've been through. Yesterday there were painters and electricians, carpenters, and excavators (did I mention we have another problem?) all scurrying about and the basement is really coming into shape.

This insurance claim stuff is a funny business. It seems such a long time ago now that the insurance adjuster came to our house with his tape measure, utility knife, and laser pointer to measure and take samples as to put a value on our damaged property. Later, when the work began, it became clear the claim was going to be much bigger than originally anticipated, which made the insurance adjuster quite uneasy. Asbestos and mold were discovered and shortly thereafter it was determined we were going to have to dig up much more of the basement slab than planned. As time has gone on I've kept a binder of correspondence, estimates, reports, affidavits, and other documents in an attempt to keep on top of this thing and better understand what we will ultimately be responsible to pay vs. the insurance company.

During the past 8 months we've now had two of what I will call payment points from the insurance company (Travelers). The first payment point came when the insurance company determined the value of emergency services necessary in our home.  An amount was determined and then a portion of that amount was sent to us in a check with the explanation that once we proved we had spent that whole amount or more, the insurance company would send us a check for the difference. Now here is where it gets interesting...because we have a mortgage on the home, the check had to be made out to us AND the mortgage company. We had to then endorse the check and send it to the mortgage company (RoundPoint), along with complete documentation proving those services had been provided and were completed.  After several weeks the mortgage company sent the check back to us, endorsed, and we were then able to pay the folks who provided the emergency services.  The amount withheld by Travelers is still due and we haven't yet quite figured out how to get that money.  The second payment point came three weeks ago when Travelers sent a check for a portion of the repair work.  Again, they've withheld a portion of the claim until we prove we've spent the money.  Once again we had to send the check to RoundPoint. Curiously, this time RoundPoint did not endorse the check and send it back...instead they cashed the $36K check and wrote a new one for $24K made out to us and our main contractor. They say it is their right to withhold the money until we can prove the work is complete.  There seems to be an awful lot of proving we have to do, first to get the $12K the mortgage company is holing onto and then to get the $7K the insurance company is holding onto!  And it seems we have no recourse and the mortgage company has every right to cash the check, hold on to the money (hmmm...I wonder what they do with all the money they hold on to from claims????) and disburse it to us at a schedule they see fit.  I am a little frustrated.

We have great folks helping us and I just hope we can pay them in a timely manner for their work. Oh, did I mention we also got a letter from Travelers stating they will not renew our homeowners policy?  Too many claims in a 5 year period is their justification. I need to go find my Om place now...oh there is one of them, waiting for me down in the Bitterroot.
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