Case No. 1:15-cv-23107-DPG
The Notice was sent to you because Defendants’ records indicate that your residential insurance policy lapsed, that a hazard, flood, or wind Lender-Placed Insurance policy was issued for your Residential Property, and that you were charged by Seterus, as your mortgage servicer, for this LPI Policy during the Settlement Class Period.
The Court ordered the Notice to be sent to you because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit, which concerns an LPI Policy or Policies issued or procured by the QBE Defendants for which you were charged by Seterus, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.
If the Court approves the Settlement, and if you satisfy the claim criteria and submit a valid claim, you will receive either: (a) a cash award from an Administrator approved by the Court, if you paid all or a portion of the Premium for your LPI Policy; or (b) a credit towards what you currently owe Seterus, or, at Defendants’ sole discretion, a partial refund check from the Administrator, if you have not paid the Premium for your LPI Policy. However, the cash award or credit will not be made until any objections or appeals are resolved and the Settlement becomes Final.Back To Top
The Notice is part of a package sent to all potential Settlement Class Members. The package includes a copy of the Notice, the Instructions for the Class Action Claim Form, and the Class Action Claim Form.This package explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.
The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and the case is known as Edwards, et al. v. Seterus, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-23107-DPG (Southern District of Florida).
Plaintiffs Evrol Edwards, Janet Stubbs, and Zelia Couto sued on behalf of you and all Settlement Class Members and are called the “Plaintiffs.” The companies they sued, Seterus and the QBE Defendants, are called the “Defendants.”
If you did not receive a Notice Package and believe you are a potential Settlement Class Member, please contact the Settlement Administrator.Back To Top
This lawsuit involves Lender-Placed Insurance (“LPI”), which is insurance (hazard, flood, or wind) that is placed on a borrower’s property to protect the borrower and mortgage lender when the borrower’s insurance policy lapses, or when the borrower does not maintain a homeowner’s insurance policy that is acceptable to the mortgage lender. When an LPI Policy is placed pursuant to the borrower’s mortgage contract, Seterus pays premiums to the LPI insurer who writes the policy, and then Seterus charges the borrowers for those Premiums.
Plaintiffs have brought claims on behalf of all persons in the Settlement Class (as defined in FAQ 5). Plaintiffs allege that when a borrower was required to have insurance for his or her property pursuant to a residential mortgage or home equity loan or line of credit, and evidence of acceptable coverage was not provided (for example, when the insurance policy did not exist or had lapsed), Seterus would place insurance in a manner such that Seterus allegedly received an unauthorized benefit. Plaintiffs allege further that Seterus did so primarily to receive “kickbacks” in the form of commissions from the QBE Defendants.
All Defendants expressly deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and assert their actions were fully authorized under the mortgage instruments and by law. They also expressly deny that the QBE Defendants paid Seterus “kickbacks” or provided any other improper benefits in connection with the issuance of LPI policies and otherwise deny that they did anything wrong. There has been no court decision on the merits of this case and no finding that Defendants committed any wrongdoing.Back To Top
Both sides have agreed to a Settlement to avoid the cost and risk of a trial and so that borrowers can get benefits in exchange for releasing Defendants from liability.Back To Top
To see if you will be affected by this class action, you first have to determine if you are a member of the Settlement Class.
The “Settlement Class” shall include:
All borrowers in the United States who, within the Settlement Class Period, were charged by Seterus, Inc. under a hazard, flood, or wind LPI Policy issued or procured by QBE Specialty Insurance Company, QBE FIRST Insurance Agency, Inc. n/k/a NGLS Insurance Services, Inc., Praetorian Insurance Company, or QBE Insurance Corporation (collectively, the “QBE Defendants”), for Residential Property, and who, within the Settlement Class Period, either (i) paid to Seterus the Net Premium for that LPI Policy or (ii) did not pay to and still owe Seterus the Net Premium for that LPI Policy. Excluded from the Settlement Class are: (i) individuals who are or were during the Settlement Class Period officers or directors of any of the Defendants or any of their respective Affiliates; (ii) any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States or any State, their spouses, and persons within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouses of such persons; (iii) all borrowers who only had an LPI Policy that was cancelled in its entirety such that any Premiums charged and/or collected were fully refunded to the borrower or the borrower’s escrow account; and, (iv) all borrowers who file a timely and proper request to be excluded from the Settlement Class. Each such qualifying member of the Settlement Class shall be referred to as a “Settlement Class Member.”
The “Settlement Class Period” is from August 19, 2010 through November 4, 2016. “LPI Policy” means a lender-placed residential hazard, flood, or wind insurance policy or policies issued or procured by the QBE Defendants, and placed pursuant to a mortgage loan agreement, home equity loan agreement, or home equity line of credit serviced by Seterus to cover a borrower’s failure to maintain the required insurance coverage on the Residential Property securing the loan.Back To Top
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Settlement Class, or you have questions about the case, you may call the toll-free number, 1-844-418-6623, email the Settlement Administrator at info@EdwardsSettlementInfo.com, or review the Settlement Agreement here.Back To Top
Defendants have agreed to provide a cash award or credit in the amount of 10.5% or 6% of the Net Premium charged to the claimant during the Settlement Class Period for the LPI Policy by Seterus, provided each Settlement Class Member submits a valid and properly completed Claim Form, including for some claimants, providing a form of verification of their identity. The amount you receive depends on when you received an LPI policy and the type of insurance (hazard, flood, or wind) that was lender-placed. The amounts are as follows:
As described in further detail in response to FAQ 9, whether a Settlement Class Member is eligible to receive a cash award or credit (towards what the Settlement Class Member owes Seterus) depends on whether he or she paid the Premiums charged by Seterus for the LPI Policy or whether he or she did not pay but still owes those Premiums to Seterus. Each Settlement Class Member must submit a Claim Form to be eligible to receive these benefits. Defendants also have agreed to additional injunctive relief from which you may benefit. The Settlement benefits are described in further detail in the Settlement Agreement here.
This Settlement will not affect any rights or claims that you may have under the National Mortgage Settlement or any other Settlement between Seterus and any governmental or private entity. This Settlement also will not affect any claim for benefits on your LPI Policy that you have made or may make in the future. However, as described in FAQ 11, this Settlement will affect any claims that you may have relating to, concerning, or pertaining to, among other things, Defendants’ conduct, policies, or practices concerning LPI Policies and charges for the placement by Seterus of LPI Policies during the Settlement Class Period.Back To Top
To receive a cash award or credit towards what you currently owe, you must be a Settlement Class Member and must send in a properly completed and accurate Class Action Claim Form postmarked no later than 60 days after the Final Settlement Date (the “Claim Deadline”) or, if a private mail carrier is used, a label reflecting that the mail date is no later than 60 days after the Final Settlement Date.
The Court granted Final Approval of the Settlement on May 15, 2017. The deadline to submit a properly completed and accurate Claim Form is July 17, 2017.
You may submit a completed Claim Form in one of the following ways:
You may also obtain a Claim Form by calling the toll-free number at 1-844-418-6623. For Settlement Class Members who are eligible for a cash award check (rather than a credit), your identity must be further confirmed through one of several options. The Claim Form Instructions and the Claim Form explain what those options are. If your Claim Form is not properly completed and/or all required information is not provided, it will be deemed invalid.
Copies of all these documents can also be found on this website here.Back To Top
The Class Action Claim Form Instructions and Class Action Claim Form explain the different relief available to Settlement Class Members, depending upon whether they paid their LPI Premium.
As explained in the Class Action Claim Form Instructions, Settlement Class Members are eligible for a cash award if during the Settlement Class Period they made at least one full monthly mortgage payment to Seterus after either: (a) their existing escrow account was adjusted to charge the increased Premium for the LPI Policy; or (b) an escrow account was created to charge the increased Premium for the LPI Policy and was charged for the LPI Policy.
All other Settlement Class Members who, during the Settlement Class Period, were charged by Seterus for their LPI Policy, and who have not paid and still owe the charged net Premium for that policy, are eligible for a reduction of what they currently owe Seterus in the amount of 10.5% or 6% of the net Premium charged to the claimant during the Settlement Class Period for the LPI Policy by Seterus. The net Premium is the amount of the LPI Premium minus any Refunds already provided to the borrower. Alternatively, Defendants may elect, in their sole discretion, to send partial cash award checks to such claimants.Back To Top
You will receive your cash award or credit within 180 days after the Settlement becomes Final and effective. The Court held a Final Approval Hearing on April 14, 2017 and the Settlement received Final Approval on May 15, 2017.Back To Top
If you are a Settlement Class Member and unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Settlement Class. That means you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about LPI, or the issues that were or could have been raised in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders concerning the Settlement Class will apply to you and legally bind you, including the Release described in detail in Section 10 of the Settlement Agreement. This Release provision describes the legal claims that you give up if this Settlement is approved and you do not exclude yourself. Please carefully read this Release and the Settlement Agreement.Back To Top
If you do nothing as a Settlement Class Member, you’ll receive no money or credit from this Settlement. But, unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not be able to start a lawsuit or continue with a lawsuit against Defendants about the legal issues that were or could have been raised in this case, ever again.Back To Top
The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was March 15, 2017. The Court approved the Settlement on May 15, 2017 and it is no longer possible to opt out of the Settlement.Back To Top
Any member of the Settlement Class who does not opt out of the Settlement in the manner and by the deadlines described above (see FAQ 13) shall be part of the Settlement Class, shall be bound by all Orders and proceedings in this action, and shall give up the right to sue any of the Defendants for the claims that this Settlement resolves.Back To Top
No. If you are a Settlement Class Member and exclude yourself, you are not entitled to send in a Claim Form to ask for any money or a credit. But, you may sue or continue to sue Defendants individually, or you may be part of a different lawsuit against Defendants.Back To Top
The deadline to object to the Settlement was March 15, 2017. The Court approved the Settlement on May 15, 2017 and it is no longer possible to object to the Settlement.Back To Top
The Court appointed the following lawyers to represent you and all other Settlement Class Members. Together, these lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged any money to pay for these lawyers.
|Adam M. Moskowitz
Kozyak, Tropin, & Throckmorton, P.A.
2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Telephone: (305) 372-1800
Facsimile: (305) 372-3508
|Aaron S. Podhurst
Podhurst Orseck, P.A.
City National Bank Building
25 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130
|Lance A. Harke
Harke Clasby & Bushman LLP
9699 NE Second Ave.
Miami Shores, FL 33138
Telephone: (305) 536-8220
Facsimile: (305) 536-8229
Class Counsel will ask the Court for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses up to $4,000,000, and a Case Contribution Award of $5,000 paid to Named Plaintiffs Evrol Edward, Zelia Couto, and Janet Stubbs for their time and effort undertaken in the matter. The Court may award less than these amounts.
Defendants will separately pay the fees and expenses, and the Case Contribution Awards that the Court awards, up to maximums of $4,000,000 in fees and expenses and $5,000 to Named Plaintiffs Evrol Edwards, Janet Stubbs, and Zelia Couto each respectively. These amounts will not reduce the amount of any cash awards or credits to Settlement Class Members. Defendants have agreed not to oppose the applications by Class Counsel for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses or the Case Contribution Award to Plaintiffs.Back To Top
The Court held the Final Approval Hearing on Friday, April 14, 2017, and granted Final Approval of the Settlement on May 15, 2017.Back To Top
The Court held the Final Approval Hearing on Friday, April 14, 2017, and granted Final Approval of the Settlement on May 15, 2017.Back To Top
The Notice, available here, and this website summarizes the lawsuit. More details are in the Settlement Agreement here. You may also contact Class Counsel, as identified above (see FAQ 17), or call 1-844-418-6623 toll-free, to find answers to common questions about the Settlement, Claim Form, and other information to help you determine whether you are eligible for relief from this Settlement.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COURT. PLEASE ALSO DO NOT CALL OR SEND CORRESPONDENCE PERSONALLY TO JUDGE GAYLES OR HIS STAFF.Back To Top
NOTICE: This website provides a summary of the Settlement and is provided for informational purposes only. In the event of any discrepancy between the text of this website and the original text upon which it is based, the text of the original document shall prevail.