Does a legal warranty deed suffice as proof that a certain party no longer has any financial interest in the property?

Upon my divorce in 2015 the court ordered my ex to deed the house over to me as my children and I were living in the house and I was paying all the bills. I have a legal warranty deed signed by my ex granting me ownership of the house and relinquishing his interest in it. Recently a hail storm damaged my roof. Insurance adjusters came out and have verified the claim and the insurance company is going to cut a check for the claim however my policy somehow now has mine and my ex husband’s name on it as well as my old last name I am re-married now. I had a claim in the past and have proof e-mail that my name was changed by an agent to my current married name and upon sending in the warranty deed paperwork that my ex signed they issued me a check in my name and the bank’s name that my loan is held at. I had no issue getting access to the money and getting the house repair work done in the past. Now with this current claim the insurance company says that they do not see where my name was ever changed or my ex-husband removed or any documentation that I sent in. I have all the e-mails from my previous claim where this all was done with one of their agents and the documentation I sent into them. None the less I re-send them the warranty deed paperwork and the underwriter says I have to have a signed letter from my ex stating that he has no financial interest in the house. What was the point of having a legal warranty deed document drawn up, him signing it and filing it with the county clerks office if they need a letter from him? My concern is that it took me almost two years to get my ex to sign the warranty deed that he agreed to in court and he is now incarcerated in another state. I haven’t had any contact with him in years and have no clue if he is still in the same prison or not. How am I supposed to get a letter from him and what if he refuses? Why did the insurance company honor the warranty deed in the past and issue me a check with no problem but now they will not? Does that not set-up a precedence for them to continue to honor the warranty deed for this claim? I’m very frustrated as I have just moved and am trying to get the house up on the market to sale and need the roof fixed so I can sell it and not have to pay a mortgage and rent elsewhere.

Asked on May 30, 2019 under Insurance Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The decree of divorce and the special warranty deed are your proof that your husband has signed off on the property.  Send the insurance adjuster the prior emails where you changed the policy to your name alone, a certified copy of the decree, and the warranty deed.  With that...they should change everything to your name and issue a check in your name alone.
If the adjuster continues to give you problems after that amount of documentation, then you have two options.  One option is to file a claim with the Texas Board of Insurance.  By cutting a check in your husband's name, they are basically giving a benefit to a third party that is not otherwise entitled to the benefit.  The second option is to hire an attorney to send a "demand" letter for payment.  Hopefully, the adjuster is just being difficult because they are ignorant about the process.  However, it could also be a lack of training or a resistance to wanting to pay the claim.  Before you invoke either option, you may want to speak to a supervisor and give them the opportunity to clarify the motive behind the that you know exactly what to include in your complaint or demand letter.
After you get through this drama with the insurance company, look for a new provider who is actually going to handle the paperwork appropriately.

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