TARGET 8: Homeowners pocket insurance money; local business suffers

8 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Monday, February 27 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:54:00 PM CST February 27, 2017 in Target 8
By: Lauren Barnas, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A local cleaning company is washing its hands of dirty business, but probably not for the last time.

Kit Price, the owner of Robinson's Cleaners in Columbia and Jefferson City, said her business specializes in fire and flood garment restoration. In 2016, Robinson's Cleaners sued six different individuals for a total of nearly $20,000 for not paying for their disaster cleanup bills.

"The insurance company has paid the homeowner directly for those items, and the homeowner for whatever reason either decides to spend that money on something else or spend it how they see fit," Price said.

Price said several times a year homeowners pocket insurance money instead of paying her. She said the family-owned business tries to operate on honesty, but her faith in others isn't always her best fortune.

"What we try to do is not deliver that stuff until we know where the check is, so we know that this is the money, or where the money is," Price said. "Sometimes that's just not an option. If you have a homeowner in need, you want to get their stuff back to them as soon as possible."

The Target 8 Investigative Team called a dozen other specialty restoration companies in the Midwest to see how big the problem is. Most businesses that restore carpet and infrastructure said they don't have this issue because insurance companies usually include those companies on the insurance check, which is referred to as a "two party check." This means a homeowner would not be able to deposit that insurance check into his or her bank account without the restoration company first signing off.

Garment restoration companies, like Price's, typically refurbish smaller pieces of property like clothing and rugs. These types of businesses told the Target 8 Investigative Team they're always chasing money because they aren't often included on the insurance check.

Jay MacLellan, the Public Relations Director for Shelter Insurance, explained that banks and mortgage companies are also more likely to have the protection of two-party checks.

"In an instance where there's a lender or a mortgage company or something like that, that has a secure interest in that property, certainly that is added to that insurance check as well so that both parties are covered in that instance," MacLellan said.

The result is protection for bigger, wealthier, businesses and banks, but hardly any protection for small businesses like Robinson's.

The Target 8 Investigative Team also reached out to the Missouri Department of Insurance to find out if there are any state-level regulations that protect businesses. Grady Martin, the department's director of administration and technology, said it's primarily up to insurance companies to decide how to write checks.

"Insurance policy provisions would dictate how the insurance company will pay and may specify who checks might be made payable to," Martin said.

He added, "The department is unaware of any insurance laws regarding who checks are made payable to."

Robinson's Cleaner's said its business is often left with a mess it didn't make, but did already clean up.

"I still have [one customer's] clothes," Price said. "But I don't want her clothes. The service is fine; she just decided not to pay me."

Despite Price suing for tens of thousands of dollars last year, she said the legal process is more time consuming than it is financially burdensome.

"I'm a business owner, I'm the only one that does that," she said about resolving lawsuits. "It just takes up a tremendous amount of time."

Price said three lawsuits settled out of court. Robsinson's won two of the other three cases that made it to the courtroom.

"One of them I couldn't get a hold of, so that person fell off the face of the earth," Price said. "And then, you know, I've got two that I filed suit and I actually got to win."

Another Missouri restoration company said it recently received a check for thousands of dollars that bounced. The company said it doesn't expect to ever see that money.

 

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials are testing for asbestos among the debris left from a massive St. Louis warehouse fire.... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:17:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor will not file criminal charges against a Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after Transportation... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:07:54 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a mechanic in a dispute over... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:59:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Christmas holiday begins this weekend at Union Station in Kansas City. The station... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:55:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri is looking for input on how to spend $41 million from... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:41:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Holiday Festival is giving local vendors a platform to support mid-Missouri charities this weekend. The Holiday... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 11:42:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police and fire department units responded to reports of an overturned car at Grayson Cottages early Saturday... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:53:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in Continuous News
CAMDENTON - The place a man envisioned as his retreat away from the hustle and bustle of regular life now... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:05:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Shots were fired in downtown Columbia early Saturday morning in an area typically packed with late night celebrants.... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:49:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was hurt in a crash on Stadium Boulevard at the intersections of East Pointe Road and... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 9:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center off Providence Road caught fire Friday night. A division chief said crews... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 8:19:52 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Each of Missouri’s counties are slating new council members for their MU Extension County Council. The councils... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 6:52:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be putting "all available troopers" on the roads over Thanksgiving week. ... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 5:58:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Gloomy weather and a possible chance of rain isn't going to stop one Columbia organization from throwing on... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 4:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - The approval process took several months, but the process of planning a switch to a new sewage treatment... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 4:00:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
KINGDOM CITY - Hatton-McCredie Elementary’s 5th grade class donated $900 to Central Missouri Honor Flight, in honor of a late... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:51:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Haby Naya grew up in Chad, Africa. She spent lots of her free time braiding hair, anyone’s hair... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:45:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor will not file criminal charges against a Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:41:31 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 41°
7am 45°
8am 44°
9am 47°
10am 49°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
9:00a
Megyn Kelly TODAY
6:00a
Page Six TV
6:30a
Cops
7:00a
Maury

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
This Is Us
9:01p
Chicago Med
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld