Farmers Insurance gets worst rating for Renters Insurance

According to the JD Powers 2014 U.S. Household Insurance Study, Farmers Insurance got the WORST rating they could get for Renters Insurance in the following categories:
Overall Satisfaction
Policy Offerings
Price
Billing and Payment
Interaction

To top it off Farmers Insurance had the WORST Customer Satisfaction ranking of all the insurers.

2014-farmers-Insurance-rating

Source:http://ratings.jdpower.com and http://www.jdpower.com

 

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

Farmers Insurance Reviews 2015

Farmers Insurance rated worst, as usual.  -Admin

“We have had Farmers car insurance and roadside assistant. My husband’s was travelling from LA to bay area and car broke and brakes failed on I5 north near grapevine while coming down on the mountain. Even the emergency brakes did not work. I called Farmers insurance and told about the situation. They kept asking questions for 1 hour and very slow in response. For example on telling what exit I am, the person was not able to locate the exit while I found online and told where the exist is exactly.
Car is out of control and she is asking where we want to take the car…. On telling nearest car repair shop, she took 10 minutes to find the nearest shop and again did not find the info that the shop is opened or closed since it was Sunday evening. I told, “Why don’t you send the roadside assistance” and meanwhile we decide where to take the car. She did not agree and asked me harassing questions for more than an hour. Finally my husband hit the car against the curb/divider again and again and stopped it.
The roadside assistance came after 3 hours. It was just very horrible, very frustrating. They do not understand the situation… They understand only money taking and maybe wait till the car does meet an accident so they can put fault on drivers. Very horrible. We were so scared, afraid and frustrated that day.. Cannot tell. Never go with Farmers.” Jan 2015

“I had my car under a canopy carport and a very bad windstorm came through the the carport, damaged my vehicle. I went to a Farmers Insurance Reviews 2015reputable auto body repair shop and received an estimate for $3,600. The Farmers adjuster came to my house and said that the damage wasn’t that severe and left me with a check for $1,400. I thought I had a $500 deductible, not $2,200. I’m very upset about this and I’m considering getting a lawyer. This guy doesn’t own or operate an auto body repair shop, but he thinks he’s qualified to disagree with the professionals.” Jan 2015

“Agent was sent email on new vehicle didn’t issue auto insurance until 3 weeks later but no backdated to the date of email. I forwarded the email from my sent box.. He said “I won’t accept it”??????? So how do I prove he accepted a later email on another car. How can I trust the “Insurance Agent” misplace emails or phone calls? Your “Vision Statement” seems to be just words. The Credit Union charged me for insurance which I had already and paid in full months earlier. It cost me $1710.00 plus interest. Besides agent has started insulting me because I changed insurance companies due to him not honoring the email sent to him but has accepted others prior and afterwards. Maybe this will get someone to help.” Jan 2015

“I was in a car accident while sitting at a red light. A guy hit me full speed and pushed me up under the car in front of me. I was hurt very badly in the accident and Farmers took me through a year’s worth of fighting sending me to their Dr where I had to get undressed. Then I had to go and sit for an hour while their attorney interrogated me for their client’s negligence. At the end of the day all I got was my hospital bills paid and 1000.00. I live in Oklahoma.” Jan 2015

“My daughter was hit by an impaired driver. Several physical therapy visits followed. The police report clearly identified the other driver as the at fault driver. Farmers immediately paid for the car loss at about 60% of the blue book value. They refused to pay the very low medical costs. We hired an attorney too late… our fault. Even our attorney lamented that Farmers is the worst insurance company in America. I had policies with them for more than six vehicles and they always refused claims unless I complained to my local rep. This company is pathetic and does not deserve to operate. AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS!”

“I had a 21st insurance policy for years, but they told me that they couldn’t cover my trucks now that they were work vehicles with my personal vehicle and I had to use Farmers to get coverage. Farmers insisted that I had to have separate policies and my insurance cost per year almost doubled (covering the same vehicles). I asked my GL insurer if they could give me a quote and not only could they include both personal and work vehicles on one policy it was about 3/4 of the cost. Naturally I switched over. With 21st if I was late in payment (contracting is not a steady check), they would terminate coverage, but farmers also sent a bill for additional cost and when I went to pay them 27 days after due date they already sent it to collections. Farmers as an insurer has been my worse experience with an insurance company I have dealt with in my 30 years of driving.”

“It’s very simple. At Farmers Insurance they will sweet talk you to hell. One of the worst I ever seen, for small fender bender, I mean Small. They will act like they are CIA agents. Every time you call them this is what you get: “WE ARE STILL INVESTIGATING THE ACCIDENT” (for almost 30 days). THEN IF THEY FIND THEM SELF CORNERED, SIMPLY THEY WILL CALL YOU RACIST. If you ask them “how long this investigation of yours will take”, this was what I got back as answer from Adjuster: “you are asking me to predict the future. Are you crazy, it takes what it takes.”

“I had a head-on collision and sustained permanent nerve damage to my neck. My UM policy limit was $100K and they offered $3k for pain and suffering. I had to sue my own insurance company to get a settlement. My agent took money from me for 22 years and when I really needed them, they said “sorry we can’t help you.” Do not think that low premiums will save you money in the long run. Look at the payout stats online for different companies before you buy. I have AMICA now and they have a good payout rating. That’s what insurance is for–to make it right when you need it. When you have a bad accident, it’s too late to expect all those promises they feed you at Farmers to be true. They aren’t! NEVER use Farmers.”

 

Source: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/

Age discrimination: Farmers Insurance company hit with $749,000 verdict

by Michael Futterman and Jaime Touchstone

A claims adjuster filed suit against Farmers Insurance when she was terminated after returning from a medical leave. A Fresno jury found that Farmers discriminated against the employee based on her age and failed to reasonably accommodate her disability. The jury awarded the employee $749,000, and she may be able to recover her attorneys’ fees as well.

Claims adjuster sues over termination

Farmers Insurance hired Sharron Warehime to work as a claims adjuster in its Visalia office. Warehime, who was 57, had more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. Initially, she received good to outstanding job performance ratings and was awarded various professional honors and accolades by Farmers.

Things at Farmers began to sour for Warehime after she was transferred to the company’s Fresno office. Following the transfer, she asked to handle her own caseload rather than working on cases assigned to other adjusters. Her supervisor obliged, allegedly assigning her the largest caseload in the office, including a previously fired coworker’s problematic files.

Overburdened, Warehime eventually requested help and a reduction in her caseload. In response, her supervisor acknowledged that she was responsible for a larger than usual number of files but didn’t reassign any of her work.
On top of the heavier workload, the Fresno office was staffed with younger employees who allegedly began directing ageist comments at Warehime, including “I don’t want to work when I’m your age” and “The old fuddy-duddy is coming in.”

Warehime complained. Her supervisor allegedly responded by conducting “case reviews” on her files, which culminated in Warehime receiving several “warnings” and being placed on probation. When she responded that the negative evaluation of her work was inaccurate and unfair, she was instructed to improve her performance.

The stress at work became so intense that Warehime allegedly suffered a mental breakdown and took a doctor-recommended leave of absence to undergo treatment for depression and anxiety. At the conclusion of her medical leave, her doctor cleared her to return to work, allegedly with a request that Farmers allow her to initially work a part-time schedule. The company didn’t respond to that request, and when she showed up for her first day back, a young man was sitting at her desk. Farmers had allegedly terminated her without notice.

Warehime sued Farmers for violations of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), including claims for age discrimination, retaliation, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, and failure to engage in a timely good-faith interactive process. After a five-week trial, the jury found that Warehime had been a victim of age discrimination and retaliation and that Farmers failed to accommodate her disability. The jury awarded her $749,000, which included damages for lost wages and benefits.

Warehime also filed a motion to recover her attorneys’ fees. That motion and Farmers’ posttrial motions for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict are set for hearing in January 2014.

Jury believed employee

The FEHA affords job protection to individuals who are 40 or older and prohibits the harassment of any employee or applicant based on age. Businesses that regularly employ five or more workers on a full- or part- time basis must comply with the FEHA’s antidiscrimination provisions and evaluate job applicants and employees on the basis of their abilities, not their age.

Employers with one or more employees may be held responsible for any acts of harassment committed by their agents and supervisors and are required to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent harassment on the basis of age. When a job applicant or employee is denied an employment benefit or is the victim of unlawful harassment based on age, the employer may be liable for age discrimination.

However, the FEHA does not insulate older workers from disciplinary action or performance standards administered equally to employees of all ages. Employers may terminate, discharge, demote, or otherwise discipline an employee who is 40 or older if she either fails to perform the normal functions of her job or conform to its legitimate business requirements.

In her lawsuit, Warehime contended that she was treated differently than other employees because of her age, and when she complained to her supervisor, she experienced retaliation through progressive discipline designed to lead to her termination. In response, Farmers argued that she was terminated because she didn’t embrace technology at work, rejected training to become a better employee, and blamed others for her problems when her workload backed up. Farmers also claimed she “low-balled” customers on their claims, leading to increased lawsuits against the company.

Ultimately, the jury believed Warehime when she asserted that she was a “committed team player and good with customer service” who participated in any required training and received positive performance ratings for the first three years of her employment.

Farmers failed to accommodate disability

The FEHA requires covered employers to accommodate an employee or applicant with a known physical or mental disability as long as the accommodation does not cause an undue hardship. In response to a request for an accommodation, covered employers must engage in a timely good- faith interactive process with the individual to determine if any effective reasonable accommodations are available.

Warehime allegedly suffered from work-related anxiety and depression, making her a qualified individual with a disability under the FEHA. She requested that upon her return from medical leave, Farmers allow her to work a part-time schedule as an accommodation for her mental health condition. Rather than granting her request, Farmers terminated her immediately upon her return from medical leave.

Warehime accused Farmers of failing to provide reasonable accommodation for her disability and failing to engage in a timely interactive process. The jury agreed, which likely contributed to the six-figure award. Sharron Warehime v. Farmers Insurance (Fresno County Superior Court, Case No. 08CECG02976).

Bottom line

Complaints of discrimination based on age and disability require a thoughtful response from employers. Firing an employee on the same day she returns from leave is rarely a good idea. The large jury verdict in this case suggests that Farmers acted in an overly aggressive manner without adequate appreciation for the legal and economic risks at stake.

Source: http://hr.blr.com/

 

Farmers Insurance Agents Sue Carrier Over Contracts, Taking Client Info

A group of Farmers Group Inc. agents have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging the Los Angeles, Calif.-based carrier has undercut them by sharing their data with a competing subsidiary and several contract violations.

The United Farmers Agents Association alleges in its suit that the U.S. subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services in 2009 “began orchestrating and engaging in a series of improper actions” at the expense of Farmers agents.

Those alleged actions include Farmers unilaterally changing the terms of the contracts with its agents, the company using client data gathered by Farmers agents to undercut them and terminating agents through a purposely rigorous new set of standards to take away their books of business and give them to agents making lower commissions.

“Under this  scheme,  Farmers  utilizes  information  and  data  about  the Agents’ policyholders – information and data acquired by the Agents through Agents’ efforts – to directly solicit those Agents’ existing policyholders with less expensive insurance policies sold through a subsidiary of the exchanges,” the suit states.

The fallout between Farmers and its agents seems to have started in 2009 with Farmers purchase of direct writer 21st Century Insurance Group. Following that buyout, Farmers unveiled a series of performance programs subjecting agents to new standards, including production minimums, quoting requirements and office hours, according to the suit.

In 2009 Farmers introduced a modified version of the contract that pertains to agents who entered the contract after that date. That same year Farmers acquired 21st Century, a direct writer of primarily automobile and homeowners’ insurance.

Farmers completed the acquisition of 100 percent of AIG’s U.S. Personal Auto Group, which included 21st Century Insurance, in July 2009. In addition to 21st Century Insurance, the acquisition included the former AIG Direct business and Agency Auto business. The purchase price amounted to approximately $1.9 billion.

Unlike the agent-based model, 21st Century does not rely on agents to sell its insurance products, instead it markets and writes policies directly to consumers.

“By employing a direct writer approach, 21st Century can offer insurance at low  rates  which  undercut  the  rates  being  charged  to  the  Agents’  own customers  and policyholders,” the suit states.

Following the purchase of Century 21, Farmers began using applicant and policyholder data from agents under contract with Farmers and disseminating it to 21st Century and other Farmers-held companies that were competitors of its own agents, according to the suit.

“In both cases, Farmers, through 21st Century or another competitor, would then typically offer insurance policies to the Agents’ policyholders and prospective policyholders  at lower prices than those which Agents could offer,” the suit states.

“These new programs were unlike any past programs, in that they impose explicit  production  minimums  upon  Agents  without  their  consent;  irrespective  of  an Agent’s past performance; and without regard for whether an Agent even markets and sells the particular  type(s) of insurance required  to be marketed  and sold under  the various programs,” the suit states.

UFAA President Tom Schrader declined to discuss the suit in detail, citing his fears that bad publicity would impact Farmers’ clients and agents negatively.

“This is a fundamental disagreement between the company and the agents and we prefer to handle it in-house without airing our dirty laundry,” Schrader said.

Farmers spokesman Mark Toohey offered the following statement:

“Farmers Insurance strongly disagrees with the issues raised in this lawsuit. During our nearly 85-years of doing business in the United States, Farmers Insurance has taken great pride in the strong relationship we have developed with our agents and we look forward to the future.”

The suit continues: “Farmers has used and continues to use these programs as a basis for taking disciplinary and other action against Agents, including termination, in violation of the contracts, which do not contain any provision requiring Agents to meet performance standards of any kind.”

According to the suit, Farmers has also taken action against agents on the basis of the location and type of offices being maintained by agents.

UFAA is a not-for-profit professional trade association, and is a member of the Coalition of Exclusive Agents Associations Inc., a national organization of exclusive agent associations whose companies insure over 60 million families. UFAA describes itself as a voluntary membership  organization  with the purpose of improving working conditions for Farmers insurance agents.

Each member of UFAA represented in the suit has a contract with Farmers. Under the contract agents serve as independent contractors of Farmers and must extend the right of first refusal to Farmers to bind insurance coverage on behalf of applicants procured by the agents.

Aside from sharing agents’ clientele information and contract violations, the suit alleges that Farmers has been terminating some agents for failing to meet the new guidelines and taking their books of business, which under contract is owned by Farmers, and using those books of business to provide seed accounts to newly signed agents earning a smaller commission.

The suit further alleges that the new performance standards imposed upon agents by Farmers are designed to be difficult to meet and they are being used as a pretext for terminating agents.

Aside from setting daily minimums for agents to contact, quote and present insurance products, the new program often also requires agents to market or sell products they have never sold before, according to the suit.

The suit seeks declaratory relief and seeks a jury trial. No trial date has been set. Neither Farmers parent Zurich nor 21st Century are named as parties in the suit.

Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit online.

Source : http://www.insurancejournal.com

Agent wins $2.4 million from Farmers Insurance

MOBILE, Alabama – A local insurance agent has won a $2.4 million judgment against Farmers Insurance Group after a civil trial last week in which he accused the company of lying about its policy regarding independent agents.

Robert “Kyle” Morris, who had been working for his family’s independent insurance agency, sought to become a Farmers agent in 2006. He told Farmers that he did not want to de-affiliate from the Morris Insurance Agency, according to testimony. Farmers officials told him it would not be a problem.

The company, in fact, did have a policy since 2003 requiring its agents to work exclusively for Farmers. Brian Duncan, an attorney who represented Morris, said the company simply lied to his client. Morris, he said, never would have accepted the offer from Farmers had he known about the policy.

In December 2009, after a management change at Farmers, the company sent Morris a termination letter without explanation. Duncan said the company told Morris, after he pressed for an answer, that the termination was due to the policy.

“It was a case, really, about telling the truth to somebody,” he said.

Attorneys for Farmers could not be reached over the weekend. They argued at trial that it did not matter what Famers managers had told Morris because he signed a contract giving them the right to terminate him with 90 days’ notice.

Duncan argued that the company committed fraud, which negated that provision of the contract. He said Farmers not only took all of the clients that Morris had built up over 2½ years but also the ones he brought with him when he came aboard. That was a total of 250 customers, with 310 policies worth some $630,000 a year in premiums, he said.

What’s more, Duncan said, the contract had a non-compete clause prohibiting Morris from contacting his former clients for a year.

Duncan said Morris went back to the family insurance agency, where he works today, but essentially lost three years of his career.

“He did have to start from scratch,” he said.

A Mobile County Circuit Court jury on Friday awarded Morris $600,000 in compensatory damages to compensate him for lost commissions and $1.8 million in punitive damages.

Source: blog.al.com

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

Greg Abbott Takes Thousands from Farmers Insurance PAC As State’s Lawsuit Against Them Continues

Greg Abbott may have been representing Texas in a suit against Farmers Insurance for the past decade, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking over $125,000 from Farmers Insurance PAC since 2005–including over $75,000 since 2013.

The donations have led to charges that Abbott has “not fairly represented homeowners in Texas” in the suit, reaching a settlement that allows Farmers to charge homeowners too much and not pay interest on millions in excessive premiums.

Abbott’s campaign told the Texas Tribune that, “he does not treat donors differently when it comes to applying the law and that accepting the campaign money is not a conflict of interest.” But as Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch told the Tribune, “It was a sweetheart deal when it was struck in 2002, and it’s only gotten sweeter since then.”

Read more about Abbott’s “sweetheart deal” with Farmers Insurance after the jump.The suit began in 2002, as a result of Governor Rick Perry’s investigation into rising homeowners’ insurance rates. The state’s class-action suit against Farmers claimed the company used “deceptive and discriminatory practices,” including charging “Texas policyholders for natural disasters in other states” and using “credit history as a significant factor for setting premiums without disclosing to customers that the practice drove up prices.” John Cornyn, who was Attorney General at the time, estimated Farmers owed policyholders up to $140 million.

At the time, Greg Abbott was running for Attorney General. The contributions he’d received from Farmers Insurance soon became an issue. When Abbott learned of the state’s investigation into Farmers, he vowed to return all campaign contributions from them, criticizing their policies,

“Texas has become the wild west of insurance gouging and holdups. … Texans will not tolerate deceptive acts by insurance companies or corporations of any type. As Attorney General, I will put an end to rate shock by holding accountable any company that bilks consumers out of their hard earned money.”

In 2003, soon after Abbott took office, a preliminary settlement was approved. The settlement was quickly appealed by advocates for consumers, who argued it was too lenient on Farmers Insurance.

The settlement is still pending, and was brought to light again in April at a Travis County district court hearing. Judge Scott Jenkins called the state’s settlement “deferential” to Farmers and questioned why it “allow[ed]the insurance giant to avoid paying interest on millions of dollars in excessive premiums” that it owed to policyholders.

Said Jenkins, “You don’t just have to lay down to Farmers. Farmers has had the benefit of all that money for more than a decade and the consumers haven’t.”

Meanwhile, as the state’s suit continued, Greg Abbott has been accepting tens of thousands of dollars from the Farmers Insurance PAC. Abbott, who as Attorney General is the lawyer leading the state’s suit against Farmers, has received over $125,000 from Farmers Insurance in the past decade–all while the state has been defending a settlement that is “deferential” to Farmers.

In 2002, Greg Abbott pledged to protect consumers from insurance giants like Farmers. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Abbott’s money is where his mouth is, and that’s favoring Farmers Insurance over Texans.

Source: www.burntorangereport.com

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