Flood victims turn to ABC13 for help with insurance money

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Flood victims turn to ABC13 for help with insurance money
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Flood victims turn to ABC13 for help with insurance money

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's not always easy to get a quick flood insurance payment, those who are trying to rebuild are quickly finding. But once it's approved, you should be able to start rebuilding. But a Memorial-area family was stuck for almost two months waiting on their bank to release their own money.

FEMA adjusters came to Larry Horning's home a few days after Harvey's flood waters receded. Larry has no problem with FEMA. He says they acted fast and treated him well and sent his flood insurance check to Chase Bank, which holds his mortgage.

That's when his problems started.

Horning can remember how his home looked before Harvey sent 44 inches of water right through his front door.

"This was a beautiful home," he said. "It wiped out everything."

Larry and his wife Lila quickly hired crews to strip it to the studs, started work with $80,000 from their savings and already have a complete plan to rebuild.

"We're moving back in," Larry said.

But that plan is stuck.

"We stopped all progress on it. As you can see here, we have no windows in the front," Larry said. "We can't lock up the house. The plumbing is halfway. The electric is halfway."

If you have a mortgage, flood insurance checks go to the bank to make sure the money gets spent on repairs.

Chase holds the Horning's mortgage and was holding on to the flood insurance proceeds for weeks and Larry really needed them.

"It's my money," he said.

He eventually got one check to pay a deposit on cabinets but it was for a fraction of what it should be. A second check came weeks later for three times what the cabinets would cost. He couldn't do a thing with either of them. His repeated called to straighten out the checks and related paperwork got him nowhere.

"We're sick and tired of taking our own money when it's sitting over at Chase Bank," Horning said.

We called Chase Bank and asked for answers about the Horning's money.

Two days later, not only did they send the money right away, a Chase executive gave Larry his cell number in case problems pop up again.

"He wired us money the next day, which was, to me, amazing," Larry said. "He said not to worry about the paperwork, not to work about all these other things and he was 'absolutely, so sorry.'"

While Horning is satisfied with the Chase executive's outreach and resolution, the bank's PR team disputed some of Horning's timeline and told us, "We're working closely with the owners of the loans we service to get people their insurance money quickly."

If you have issues, they say call or come into a branch.

Do you have a story tip, idea or question for Ted Oberg Investigates? Let us know, at abc13.com/tedstips