Indian Hill homeowners: Insurance company is out to "publicly hu - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 NOW Investigates

Indian Hill homeowners: Insurance company is out to "publicly humiliate" them

(FOX19 NOW) (FOX19 NOW)
Jeffrey and Maria Decker (FOX19 NOW file) Jeffrey and Maria Decker (FOX19 NOW file)
Photo courtesy: Stratus Helicopters Photo courtesy: Stratus Helicopters
Photo courtesy: Stratus Helicopters Photo courtesy: Stratus Helicopters
INDIAN HILL, OH (FOX19) -

FOX19 NOW Investigates has uncovered new information that explains why an insurance company refused to pay out a multiple-million dollar claim made by an Indian Hill couple after their mansion burned to the ground.

The two sides are at odds over giving up certain documents.  Last week, the insurance company said they don’t plan to give up the documents the Deckers desire, or pay their multi-million dollar claim, citing bombshell allegations.  This has been the basis of a back-and-forth in court filings as of late. 

On Monday, FOX19 NOW uncovered the Deckers response. 

They dispute the insurer’s claims, saying that the company is trying to publicly humiliate and defame them to sway opinions rather than deal with legal issues. They call the prior filings a character and credibility assassination.

Court documents filed in federal court by Chubb National Insurance Company show the company denied a $60 million claim because of inconsistencies in comments made by Jeffrey and Maria Decker after the fire. 

On Jan. 10, 2014 a spectacular fire that could be seen for miles destroyed the Decker’s Indian HIll mansion. 

The company focused on three main alleged misrepresentations in the Sept. 21 court filing. The accusations include:

  1. Jeffrey Decker made false statements about his whereabouts during the 75 minutes before the fire was reported
  2. Mr. Decker's false statements to police and insurance agent about having $500,000 to $600,000 in a safe in the house at the time of the fire. 
  3. Maria Decker's denial that she asked a local realtor to quietly list the house for sale before the fire. 

In a March 13, 2014 filing, Jeffrey Decker gave a sworn statement to an insurance investigator saying he had his cell phone with him throughout the day of the fire. Chubb National ran an engineering analysis on Jeffrey Decker's cell phone. The company claims that Decker's cell phone analysis shows Decker was in fact in the area of his residence between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Decker previously told investigators that he left his house around 1:30 p.m. the day of the fire and was in Blue Ash between 2-3 p.m., according to court documents. 

The insurance company claims Decker did not leave the area of his residence until 17 minutes before the event time in the Indian Hill Police Department incident report. 

Chubb National claims that Jeffrey Decker allegedly told Indian Hill police officers and his insurance agent that he had $500,000 to $600,000 in a safe in the house at the time of the fire. 

According to the Indian Hill Police Department the following items were found in the two safes in the burnt mansion:  

  • Four $50 bills
  • 1/10th ounce of a Gold Eagle Coin
  • 26 $1 coins 
  • A diamond necklace valued around $80,000-$100,000 
  • Pieces of $10,000 bills of Iraqi Denars 
  • Passports of the family
  • Titles
  • Appraisals
  • A Bushmaster AR-15
  • .22 long rifle
  • 12 gauge
  • 22 semi-auto pistol

The final claim the Deckers used "concealment or fraud" according to Chubb National is that Maria Decker denied having contact with a local realtor trying to sell the 22-room mansion. 

Chubb claims the realtor told Detective Shawn Perdue that he spoke to Maria about putting the house up for sale. The realtor described the arrangement as a "pocket listing" which is a practice used by realtors for a "niche" house when there might be only a few potential buyers. 

Maria Decker denied knowing or ever speaking to the involved realtor.  

According to an April 17 filing, the fact discovery phase closes on Dec. 15, 2015. 

The detective in the case declined to comment on the court documents but said a criminal investigation into the fire remains open. 

On Jan. 1, 2016 a list of experts will attempt to show why Chubb National should pay the Deckers the $60 million in damages. 

On Feb. 15, 2016 a team of experts will try to prove the couple lied to investigators and violated the "concealment or fraud" provision.

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