21st Century Insurance Gets Worst Rating from Temkin Group

According to the 2015 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual customer experience ranking of companies based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers, 21st Century Insurance had the WORST ratings for the 5th year in a row!  Five years in a row?  Is it a coincidence that Farmers Insurance Group bought temkin-group-logo21st Century in 2009?  It didn’t take them long to run this business into the ground in regards to customer service and experience.  21st Century Insurance was also one of the three companies that declined by most percentage-points between 2014 and 2015!!

To generate these ratings, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to evaluate their recent experiences with a company across three dimensions: success (can you do what you want to do?), effort (how easy is it to work with the company?), and emotion (how do you feel about the interactions?). Temkin Group then averaged these three scores to produce each company’s Temkin Experience Rating.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/

Texas Commissioner Files Revised Farmers Insurance Refund Settlement

On the heels of a recent multi-million dollar refund agreement with the state’s largest homeowners insurer, Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner David Mattax announced a revised settlement with the second largest homeowners insurer, Farmers Insurance, stemming from a 2002 lawsuit by the state against Farmers.

The settlement now goes before a Travis County District Court for approval.

The settlement, which amends a prior agreement, will enhance benefits to Farmers policyholders who fall within the settlement class.

As part of the settlement in 2002, Farmers provided a 6.8 percent homeowners rate reduction that has already been received by its policyholders. An additional $74.38 million in refunds has been increased by $10 million to account for the passage of time.

Under the terms of the agreement, eligible Farmers policyholders will receive a total of $84.38 million in refunds.

“This is a significant step toward returning funds to deserving Farmers customers,” said Commissioner Mattax in a departmental release.

He also noted the recent settlement with State Farm Lloyds totaling $352.5 million in refunds. Taken together, the two settlements provide for almost $437 million in refunds to certain Texas insurance consumers.

Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2015/03/10/359968.htm

Judge Orders Farmers Insurance to Pay Oklahoma Plaintiffs $15M

An Oklahoma judge has ordered Farmers Insurance and a subsidiary to pay a total of $15 million to three plaintiffs who filed claims for damage to their homes caused by a deadly tornado that struck Woodward in 2012.

The plaintiffs alleged that Farmers Insurance and Foremost Insurance Group underpaid claims and used adjusters that they knew would offer low estimates, and District Judge Ray Dean Linder agreed.

“I was shocked at the disservice that was rendered by the defendants in each of the three cases,” Linder said in his verdict issued last week.

The judge ordered the insurance companies to pay $2 million for bad faith and breach of duty and $3 million in punitive damages to each of the three plaintiffs.

Farmers Insurance is still reviewing the judge’s decision and evaluating its next step, said company spokesman Luis Sahagun.

The EF-3 tornado hit Woodward in April 2012, killing six people and injuring 29.

Attorney Jeff Marr filed the lawsuits on behalf of homeowners Sterling Parks, Jeff and Mary Sharpe and Kim and Linda Louthan. He has also filed lawsuits against insurance companies over the May 2013 tornadoes that hit Moore and other Oklahoma towns.

“For every one or two or three – in this case – who stand up and say they won’t take it, there are a thousand who take it, because in many cases the people don’t have a choice,” Marr said. “They are often left in a situation where their house is unlivable and they can’t afford to foot the bill to stay somewhere else or fix the home themselves.”

According to the lawsuit, the insurance company’s adjuster determined that Parks’ home was not structurally damaged and could be repaired. The lawsuit said an engineer hired by Parks said the home should be torn down, not fixed.

“My life has been on hold basically for two years,” Parks said. “It’s nice knowing I will eventually get something.”

Farmers Group Inc. is based in Los Angeles.

Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com/

Also see VIDEO here

Auto Shops’ Suit Crashes In Insurer Antitrust MDL

Law360, Los Angeles (January 21, 2015, 8:35 PM ET) — A Florida federal judge on Wednesday gutted a suit in multidistrict litigation accusing State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and other insurance providers of conspiring to manipulate car repair costs to reduce their payments, potentially spelling doom for about 20 additional cases.
In dismissing most of the claims in the instant Florida federal suit without prejudice, U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell decided the auto body shops failed to state a claim, including failing to meet the burden for two claims that alleged Sherman Act violations.

Plaintiffs claimed the insurers utilized business agreements with the shops to exert control over their operations and artificially depress car repair costs.

But Judge Presnell decided on Wednesday that the plaintiffs hadn’t sufficiently detailed the alleged agreements. Moreover, the fact that some of the defendants showed an unwillingness to pay more than State Farm had to pay doesn’t by itself raise Sherman Act concerns, according to the judge.

“It is not illegal for a party to decide it is unwilling to pay a higher hourly rate than its competitors have to pay, and the fact that a number of the defendants made statements to that effect does not tip the scales toward illegality,” Wednesday’s order said.

Judge Presnell also found no viable claim that any defendant refused to allow any of its insureds to obtain a repair from a shop that asked for higher prices, or refused to pay for repairs performed at such a shop, and thus tossed another Sherman Act claim.

In addition to price-fixing and boycotting, plaintiffs accused the insurance companies of breaking various state laws by not sufficiently compensating the body shops for work performed, by illegally steering business away from their respective businesses and by illegally suppressing labor rates within the industry.

While there were slight variations among many of the complaints over certain state-law-based alternative grounds for recovery, the core factual allegations in many of the actions were the same, which led to last year’s consolidation. Thus, Judge Presnell’s Wednesday decision in the instant case may indicate that the similar claims in about 20 other cases in the MDL could fail.

The judge tossed plaintiffs’ quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, tortious interference with business relations and conversion claims without prejudice. He dismissed their quasi-estoppel claim with prejudice.

David L. Yohai of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP — which is representing 21st Century Centennial Insurance Co., Bristol West Insurance Co. and Farmers Insurance Group — told Law360 on Wednesday that they are pleased with the court’s decision.

“Hopefully, the plaintiffs will see the weakness in their pleadings and not prolong this costly process and case which they clearly do not have the facts to support,” Yohai said.

State Farm Public Affairs Director Phil Supple told Law360 that they are pleased with the ruling and that the company’s lawyers are reviewing the order.

An attorney for the repair shops didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday.

The repair shops are represented by John Arthur Eaves Jr. of Eaves Law Firm, among others.

21st Century Centennial Insurance Co., Bristol West Insurance Co. and Farmers Insurance Group are represented by David L. Yohai of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, among others. State Farm is represented by Michael P. Kenny of Alston & Bird LLP and Michael L. McCluggage of Eimer Stahl LLP, among others. Allstate is represented by Richard L. Fenton of Dentons US LLP, among others.

The case is A&E Auto Body Inc. et al. v. 21st Century Centennial Insurance Co. et al., case number 6:14-cv-00310, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division.

Source: http://www.law360.com

Woman says Farmers Insurance didn’t cover as promised

A Galveston County woman is suing an insurance company over claims the defendant failed to provide the coverage promised in her insurance policy.

Shellie Hoops filed a lawsuit Dec. 29, 2014, in Galveston County District Court against Texas Farmers Insurance Company, citing underpayment for damage to her home from a water leak.

According to the complaint, on June 7, 2014, a sudden discharge of water on Hoops’ property in LaMarque caused severe damage. The suit alleges an adjuster for the company misrepresented the cause and scope of the damage, the amount it would cost to repair it and the plaintiff’s coverage under the policy, resulting in an underpayment that has not allowed Hoops to make needed repairs to the property.

Hoops seeks between $100,000 and $200,000 in damages plus attorney fees and other damages. She is represented by attorney Ben Doherty of Speights & Worrich in San Antonio.

Galveston County District Court case number: 14-CV-1349

Source: setexasrecord.com

Former Farmers Insurance Adjuster Speaks Out

Having first hand experience as a property adjuster with farmers insurance for many years ( now with another company), I can tell you first hand that farmers adjusters were told to tighten up there approvals on wind and hail claims specifically in 2010 & 2011 due to paying to much ($35 million) in 2009 on hail claims just in Illinois alone. They changed there guidelines to basically only pay the worst of the worst damages while bringing in engineers to brain wash their staff into truly believing they were denying wear and tear damages that were true storm damages that should have been covered under the claim and insurance. Since 2011 farmers has now taken an easier approach but through 2013 when I left they were still denying storm damages due to inexperienced adjusters and also overseeing supervisors that would scold their employees for paying to much and being to easy going on approvals. If you truly want your claim accurately paid, file a home office or dept. of insurance complaint and farmers will send out a second adjuster and accurately pay your claim as they fear lawsuits and complaints. Depending on what adjuster you get you will get different claim handling and guidelines. I do not want to name specifically the adjusters who are the toughest on approvals but you will clearly know when talking to them initially or your contractor will know before they get there as they have probably met them in the past. The toughest adjuster for approvals works the northwest area, ie Rockford, crystal lake, Algonquin etc just as a heads up. To piggyback off other posts our catastrophe teams job is to come in give you some money to hold off for the short term. They are severely under trained in handling anything other than wind or hail claims, they do not know all the different state guidelines and will severely short you finds for repairs. I highly suggest requesting a second adjuster if you get one of these adjusters showing up at your house as they will short you money and even screw up coverage on your claim. Not to drag this out but compared to my new company farmers is a joke not only in promoting under experienced people to power positions to make important decisions in the company but also there staff, guidelines ( repairing things against industry standards) and treatment of their policyholders.

 

Source: Farmers Insurance Adjuster

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