Be Prepared

A class action filed on behalf of California fire victims against Countrywide Home Loans was settled November 25, 2009 in Los Angeles Superior Court (Van Der Touw v Countrywide, BC392189).

Based on alleged violations of California‟s Civil Code Section 2954.8, and Business and Professions Code Section 17200, the class action suit claimed that the mortgage lender, Countrywide Home Loans, breached California laws by not paying homeowners the minimum 2% interest on insurance proceeds held by their lender. The code sections apply to state, not federally, chartered institutions.

The practice of withholding interest on monies held from insurance settlement proceeds or escrow account holders amounted to free funds at the expense of diligent homeowners who suffered damages from an insured peril. Individually, no case would have prevailed because any recovery would have been insignificant compared to the costs of litigation.

Countrywide Home Loans, a California corporation, ultimately agreed to fund a class settlement in recognition of past unpaid interest.

Mr. Brian Heffernan, the attorney representing homeowner plaintiffs, commented, “This was a case that reflects our troubled economic times. As most disaster victims already know, financial institutions will go to great lengths to hold [insurance settlement] money as long as possible. Fire victims constantly have to overcome the red tape and hassles to convince the „Loss Draft‟ department to eventually disburse the customers‟ own insurance proceeds necessary to rebuild their homes. This settlement should at least remove one obstacle along the way to rebuild their home.”

Homeowners who borrowed from or held escrow accounts with Countrywide during the period covered by the class action litigation, June 6, 2004 and June 30, 2008, are advised to check their mail for instructions regarding the class action settlement.

Inspirational Quotes

You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far.

Uncle Remus

Testimonials

We lost our home in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire in Poway CA. As was the case with most (if not all) of my neighbors, we were drastically under insured through no fault of our own. I don’t believe that anyone is prepared for such a catastrophic emotional and financial loss. The task of completely rebuilding your life is monumental. Fortunately, the city of Poway co-operated with CARe and allowed them to hold bi-weekly insurance meetings in the City Chambers. After attending 2 of the group meetings we then scheduled several one-on-one meetings with CARe and were able to start to piece together the puzzle that is a catastrophic insurance claim. The resources which CARe was able to put us in touch with were incredible, and after they showed us the basics of handling an insurance claim we felt that we had knowledge to work through the once daunting task of negotiating with our insurance company. We could not have made it through the process without the information, help and encouragement that we received from CARe

Witch Creek Fire Survivor, 2007