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Former Farmers Insurance Supervisor Speaks Up

If you are an employee and would like to share your Farmers Insurance horror stories feel free to post them in our forum.Thanks to Manager X for sharing these stories with us.

This email was dated June 27, 2007.

"Jim Sorrells, the current Director of Shared Services (Med/PIP, Work Comp, Subrogation) for Farmers is in the process of replacing all of his experienced PIP Managers in favor of bringing in unexperienced Managers from outside of Farmers. His thought process appears to be that he does not want any more jaded employees in the Manager position, so he will bring in people with fresh ideas that know nothing about Farmers culture or philosophy. He has already replaced the Managers in Utah & Oregon. In Oregon, he hired a woman that has no insurance industry, PIP or Farmers experience. He has put her in charge of running one of the largest PIP operations in the country. He wouldn't even consider interviewing internal candidates. Does this seem logical? How can someone with no experience in an area lead an office of people that do have the experience?
Other news :
Farmers is woefully behind on our 2007 goal of 1,000,000 policies written.
Liability discontinued use of Colossus, and is now using a web-based program called ClaimsConsultant.
ServicePoint in Austin, TX opened - finally."

This email was dated January 17, 2007. Here are a "few examples of what I have experienced in Management with Farmers Insurance."

red This occurred during a weekly Management meeting.  It was a Monday morning in early 2005.  Our Business Director, we’ll call him D Mac, was visiting us to discuss our direction for 2005.  During that meeting, the issue of customer service was raised, as our numbers were off of goal in that particular area.  D Mac replied by saying, “I don’t give a shit about customer service and neither should you.”  In fact, he advised all of the Supervisors tell their Claims Adjusters the same thing.  When we left the meeting, that’s exactly what we did.  Needless to say we did not make goal of 85% customer satisfaction that year, because we had our teams focus on the bottom line, not the customers.  When our number hit a new low, and all of our customers were pissed off at us, upper management changed their tune immediately.  All of the focus was put back on making the customer happy, and the goal was raised even higher, making it much more ambitious.  The kicker here is that even though we were told to ignore our customers, management still held each person accountable in performance reviews for not making that goal.  D Mac is no longer with Farmers Insurance.

red I supervised an employee that had a relatively negative attitude about our office and the company (for good reason, of course).  I had just taken over supervisory duties for this particular team and was in the early stages of getting adjusted to them in early 2006.  One day, this particular claims adjuster was wearing a shirt that showed off a bit too much skin.  When another employee complained to me, I had to address the issue with my adjuster.  I took the adjuster aside, privately, and explained the situation to her.  I gave a verbal warning and told the adjuster to go home, change shirts, and return to work.  The adjuster was extremely upset.  While out of the office that day, the adjuster decided to go to Human Resources and discuss the issue with them.  Human Resource Services are supposed to be advocates for employees, keeping their issues confidential.  Additionally, employees are supposed to feel safe in taking issues to HR.  I received a phone call from an HR Representative later that day, advising me that I had to put my employee through the disciplinary process for violating the dress code.  When I explained to the adjuster that my warning wasn’t enough, that I was going to write the incident up, as well, there was a total fear of retribution for going to HRS with the issue.
***Farmers Insurance requires all employees complete an employee satisfaction survey every year.  The area that is constantly negative year in and year out is fear of retribution for going to management with issues.

red Farmers Insurance employees are rated by the following performance levels:
Level 1 (H) – High performer
Level 2 (MH) – Mid-high
Level 3 (M) – Mid
Level 4 (ML) – Mid-low
Level 5 (L) – Low
The company puts pressure on management to move the Level 4 & 5 employees out the door, as they are viewed as being useless.  There is very little emphasis placed on turning these employees around due to bottom-line focusing.  We had a reduction in force (RIF) in our office due to automating of some processes.  It was determined that 2 members of my team would be affected.  I had two Level 5 employees (both with the company for 30+ years) and a Level 4 employee (with the company for about 2.5 years).  One of the level 5 employees was being pressured to retire early (with full benefits), and the other was not quite old enough to retire with full benefits.  As a result, the company protected her because of her age and made me lay off the level 4 employee instead (blatant age discrimination).  The thing that made it difficult for me is that the employee that lost the job had recently found out he had a baby on the way.  Of course, as a Supervisor, you have to bend the truth a little about what actually occurred, in order to cover things up, so to speak.

***A bit more on performance level.  It is not uncommon to see a Level 3 employee that met or exceeded all production goals for the year, receive a 1-2% raise, while Level 1s & 2s receive considerably more (can be up to 12%).  Level 3 is not a good thing, by any means.  The company, in most cases, will not promote Level 3 employees.  Nor will the company pay relocation benefits for a Level 3 employee (you would have to make a serious business case to overcome this).  I had an employee apply for a position in another Farmers claims office.  When the Hiring Manager from that office called me and asked about this employee’s performance, I advised she was a Level 3.  The Hiring Manager replied by saying, “Oh, well that pretty much rules her out.”


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