Is the Long Saga of the HOW Companies Nearing an End?

Filed in Legal by on September 13, 2019

contractThe HOW Companies were a group of risk retention businesses formed in the 1980s for the purpose of providing home warranties to home owners. Many builders, including NAHB members, contributed capital to get the companies off the ground.

In 1994, the state of Virginia placed the businesses into receivership, ultimately deciding to close the businesses through the liquidation process. At the time, the companies had over 1.7 million home owner policies. The Receiver spent more than two decades resolving active warranty claims, as well as resolving petitions that opposed the liquidation of the companies.

On July 18, 2019, the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued its Final Order in Aid of Continuing Liquidation. This indicates that the Receiver is preparing to make an accounting of residual assets left to be distributed to builders entitled to a distribution.

The final amount left for distribution has not been determined, but a filed document indicates the total amount could be approximately $90 to $100 million, to be distributed to over 20,000 builders. The list is available here, starting on page 25. Each distributee’s percent allocation of residual assets is also included.

In an August 8, 2019 update, the Receiver states that it is “continuing to review W-9 and proofs of legal successorship previously submitted by Builder Distributees.” It is not known how long this process will take and thus, we do not know when the Residual Assets will be distributed.

If your name is on the list of builder distributees and you have not been contacted, you may need to complete and submit the address correction form, available here.

NAHB has recently received questions from members who have been contacted by unrelated third-party claims-trading firms. These are private companies that contact those entitled to money and offer to buy their shares at a discount. For these questions, you should contact your own local counsel.

This blog post is for informational purposes only. NAHB is not involved in the HOW Companies liquidation. Do not send any documents to NAHB; any communications must be done directly with the Receiver. The website maintained by the Receiver is available at www.howcorp.com.

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