Navy officer fights with insurance company to make home livable

“In February, I had a pipe burst, and it pretty much flooded the entire floor of the house.”

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When you walk into the front door of De Vela Cargin’s home you can see the aftermath of water damage. It is everywhere.

“In February, I had a pipe burst and it pretty much flooded the entire floor of the house,” said Cargin.

The Navy Petty Officer is now on deployment in Norfolk, Virginia but wants to return to Jacksonville home.

“My house is such bad shape I can’t live there,” she said.

A few months into her claim, she hired a public adjuster, Frank Evans of Good Claims.

“The damage is everywhere,” said Evans. “These kitchen cabinets look goof bit the damage is clear they are bulging and you can see the water line across here.”

Her homeowners insurance company is Universal Property and Casualty. They have made two assessments of the damage but far from settleing the claims.

Cargin said it took her insurance company 89 days to issue the first check of $7,000.

“It didn’t even get any of the work done,” Cargin recalled. “I never cashed it so I reached out to Frank because I didn’t know what to do.”

Cargin said they recently issued a $20,000 check but again it is not enough to restore her home.

“I am paying a mortgage on a house that I cannot live in, my children cannot live in,” Cargin explained. “The mold has done nothing but grow and fester.”

On Your Side reached out to Universal Property and Causality. This was the response from Travis Miller.

Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company has forwarded your inquiry to me for response. We appreciate the opportunity to provide additional information. Please note that in May 2021, the policyholder retained a public adjuster to represent him in connection with the claim. Subsequently, in August, the insured additionally hired an attorney. Taking into account privacy considerations as well as the existing attorney representation on the file, we are limited in our ability to discuss specific considerations related to the claim.

Please note that UPCIC has made, and will continue to make, efforts to resolve the claim with the insured’s representatives. As you may know, the Florida Department of Financial Services administers a mediation program allowing parties to discuss and potentially resolve their claims. The parties participated in this process in October and unfortunately were not able to reach an agreement. The company also has requested information from the insured’s attorney supporting the amount the attorney has demanded above the amount of damage observed and already paid by UPCIC. Thus far, the attorney has not provided the requested support.

Evans estimated the cost to restore his client’s home to about about $100,000.

“There’s a lot that has to be done and if she got the money it would take three months to restore her home,” said Evans.

Cargin said she is planning to relocate to Jacksonville this month and she would like closure after nearly ten months of going around with her homeowner’s insurance.

“I’d like to see my insurance company do what I paid them for,” she said. 

Her attorney will one more attempt to provide the requested information, which she said they did before, and if there is not resolution it means this claim is headed to court.