Marshall Fire survivor struggles to get insurance payout

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Marc Hughes said he’s paid contractors for 75% of his rebuilding project. But when he went to request the rest of his insurance money, his requests were denied.

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Contractors are putting the finishing touches on Marc Hughes’ Louisville home — rebuilding the home he lost in the Marshall Fire in 2021.

The drywall is in. Electric outlets and plumbing is roughed in. Some of the homes floors are finished and tile has been installed in the bathrooms. 

Hughes said he’s paid contractors for about 75% of the project. But when he went to request the rest of his insurance money, held by his mortgage company, his requests were denied. The mortgage portal said only 5% of the project was complete.

“It’s been a pretty long and painful process,” Hughes said standing near his kitchen, where contractors with a laser level were preparing to install cabinets. “I don’t know why it takes so long.”

When his insurance company settled on the replacement cost for his home, the company cut the check to Hughes’ mortgage company, PNC Bank. That is standard practice when insurance pays out a loss on a home that is still owned under a mortgage.

The mortgage company kept the amount Hughes currently owes on the mortgage and wrote him a check for the rest. And as he continued building the house, he was instructed to submit progress reports to the mortgage company which would disburse the rest of the money to him as the rebuilding process went on.

When Hughes called Steve On Your Side, the bank was still holding $125,000 of his rebuilding money.

He said when he tried to submit documents and contact PNC, he got the runaround. He said independent inspectors hired by PNC also verified to him that the house had progressed beyond five%. But the bank would never accept the change.

“I uploaded 16 invoices with 16 canceled checks to prove the money that we have paid out to my contractor to complete the work,” he said. “I upload a document, I wait, I call, they say, that’s with another department.”

“There’s nobody responsible. It’s always I’m just another name in the system. And I feel like there’s no real incentive for them to pay out the money that they’re holding.”

Frustrated with the lack of attention, he called Steve On Your Side. Hughes said a few hours after 9NEWS contacted PNC Bank, a representative reached out and told him his rebuild progress had been verified and that the bank would be overnighting a check for the remaining amount.

The bank confirmed to Steve On Your Side that the issue had been resolved. When asked if any processes would change as a result of the issue, a spokesman said he would get back to us.

“This was not meant to be a hit piece on PNC, but I wanted to shine a light on the process,” Hughes said.

A number of homeowners in the Marshall Fire burn area have told Steve On Your Side similar stories of struggles to get insurance settlement money from mortgage companies.

A bill to standardize the practice passed the state House this week and is headed to the state Senate.

Have a consumer problem or question for Steve On Your Side? Fill out this form to send a tip to Consumer Investigator Steve Staeger.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Marshall Fire families 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries



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Marshall Fire survivor struggles to get insurance payout

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