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AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) – The defendant in a class action lawsuit over automobile insurance policies has filed a motion to dismiss in Texas federal court.
The motion to dismiss was filed April 3 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Plaintiffs Charles Grigson and Robert Vale filed a case against Farmer’s Group Inc. in February, claiming the company violated the Texas Insurance code’s unfair discrimination statute by offering less-expensive insurance policies to new customers. They also accused the company of not informing current customers about the new, less-expensive policy.
Past members held Farmer’s Auto 2.0 (FA2) policies that were phased out when Farmer’s Smart Auto Plan policies were developed. Thus the company stopped offering Farmer’s Auto 2.0 policies.
The lawsuit claims that the policies are basically the same but the Farmer’s Auto 2.0 policy costs more.
However, the company has requested that the court dismiss the case with prejudice.
It also stated that because the policy rates were submitted and approved by the Texas Department of Insurance, the case is baseless. According to the defense, the commission of the department has a responsibility to go over rates and ensure that they are fair.
It also pointed out in its motion that there is a grievance process with the department that individuals are able to access if they are concerned about the rate.
Farmer’s Group also stated the statute “only applies to discrimination without actuarial basis, in the amount of premium fees, or rates charged policyholders under a particular contract of insurance. It is focused on the fair and actuarially sound allocation of risk between policyholders with the same insurance contract.”
In addition, the motion claims that insurance policies are complex, which is why the law only considers discrimination between those holding the same policy.
“A seemingly minor change in coverage can have a large impact on potential loss payments and thus the rate paid,” the defendant stated in the motion to dismiss.
Farmer’s Group Inc. is represented by Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in Austin and Los Angeles.
Law360, San Francisco (August 1, 2017, 10:10 PM EDT) — A California federal judge Tuesday conditionally certified a collective action brought by 300 Farmers Insurance claims investigators who say they’ve been misclassified as exempt from overtime, finding they’d met the “low standard” for sending out notices, even though it was a “close question” for those whose duties didn’t include going into the field.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte said she would allow the plaintiffs to send notice to three groups of employees — special investigators, senior special investigators and general special investigators — for the opt-in action, finding they’d met the lenient burden of showing the workers were “similarly situated,” since their duties were alike, they were classified as exempt and often worked overtime hours they weren’t compensated for.
While the judge agreed with Farmers Insurance Exchange’s skepticism that “desk investigators” who didn’t leave the office to interview witnesses or take pictures of the scene of an incident could qualify as nonexempt, she ended up including them.
“I think this is appropriate for conditional certification,” she said. “Though it’s a close question, it’s still a very low standard.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act suit, filed in January by David Deluca and Barry Francis, alleges investigators continue to be misclassified as exempt from overtime pay by Farmers, in spite of prior litigation over the practice.
The complaint alleges that while investigators look into insurance claims to see if they’re fraudulent and write reports based on their findings, they don’t render opinions or recommendations, suggesting they don’t have the “independent judgment” authority to trigger an administrative exemption under the FLSA. The investigators are salaried, but they regularly work more than 40 hours a week, the suit alleges.
Farmers, which offers insurance for homes, cars and commercial entities, has faced litigation for this practice before. A 2007 suit in Minnesota federal court ended with a summary judgment finding two years later that the company had misclassified its investigators as exempt, but the insurance company never changed its policy.
On Tuesday, Judge Laporte did trim “national investigators,” who handle complex fraud ring and organized crime investigations, from the action, finding their role hadn’t been sufficiently discussed in the complaint. Farmers attorney Andrew M. Paley of Seyfarth Shaw LLP also asked that she cut the language seeking to encompass “similar positions” from the case, arguing it was too vague.
“Even if Your Honor believes they’ve met a fairly low standard here, I would submit they have not met the standard with regard to anything but the three significant positions,” he said.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel S. Brome of Nichols Kaster PLLP conceded on the national group, arguing “in general they do the same work, but we don’t have any evidence of that.” But he successfully fought to keep the desk investigators in the suit, saying the field work duties were “a distinction without a difference.”
Now email and mailed notifications will go out to the estimated 300 potential plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs are represented by Matthew C. Helland, Daniel S. Brome, Matthew H. Morgan and Reena I. Desai of Nichols Kaster PLLP.
Farmers is represented by Andrew M. Paley, Sheryl L. Skibbe and Ryan McCoy of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
The case is David Deluca et al. v. Farmers Insurance Exchange et al., case number 3:17-cv-00034, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
February 9, 2017
Auto insurance company Farmers faces a putative class action lawsuit alleging it discriminates against longtime customers by offering preferential pricing to new customers while raising rates on its current customers.
Lead plaintiffs Charles Grigson and Robert Vale allege in their class action lawsuit that Farmers Texas County Mutual Insurance Company “betrayed” their policy holders through “illegal and discriminatory” policy regimes in early 2016.
The plaintiffs claim that when Farmers rolled out its policy pricing, it unfairly offered new customers lower rates and did not inform current customers about them. Further, argue the plaintiffs, Farmers raised rates on current policy holders.
Grigson alleges that he has been a Farmers Texas auto policyholder since 1981. He says that in January of 2016 he was insured by two Farmers auto policies, but was never informed about the available lower premium rates.
In early May, Grigson says became aware of the lower rates and attempted to apply, but was told he was ineligible because he was not a new customer.
Similarly, Vale alleges in the class action that he’s held a Farmers auto policy since 1997. He says his policy expired in May of 2016, but he was not made aware of the preferential pricing policy at the time of renewal and paid a higher rate.
Both plaintiffs were eventually allowed to apply for the lower policy rates, according to the complaint.
“In nearly all cases,” allege the plaintiffs in the class action, “the premium rate that an existing [Farmers] policyholder pays is higher than the premium rate a new customer would pay under FSPA for identical or virtually identical coverage.”
“The rate difference between FSPA and FA2 can be as high as 20-40%, or even higher,” continue the plaintiffs. “In some cases, individuals and/or families may save more than $1,000 for every six (6) month policy period by switching to FSPA.”
According to the class action lawsuit, the pricing regime that favors new customers violates Texas State Law. Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that there was no “actuarial basis” for the preferential pricing for new customers.
The plaintiffs say that they, and other existing Farmers policy holders, have suffered “significant economic damages” as a result of the pricing regime. “Existing [Farmers] policyholders have paid, and continue to pay, higher premiums than they should. Through its unfair discrimination, FGI is forcing Farmers Texas’s most loyal, existing FA2 policyholders to effectively subsidize the lower FSPA rates offered only to new Farmers Texas customers.”
According to the class action lawsuit, Farmers intimidated its insurance agents into concealing the better rates from existing policy holders. This will erode the trust between the policy holders and their agents, say the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Farmers to stop the preferential pricing regime. Additionally, they are seeking damages and/or restitution, pre- and post- judgment interest and attorney’s fees and costs.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a Class of Texas Farmers auto policy holders affected by the preferential policy regime initiated on Jan. 4, 2016.
The plaintiffs are represented by Michael L. Slack, John R. Davis, and Paula Knippa of Slack & Davis LLP, Joe K. Longley of the Law Offices of Joe K. Longley, and Roger N. Heller and Jonathan D. Selbin of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP.
The Farmers Preferential Auto Insurance Pricing Class Action Lawsuit is Grigson, et al. v. Farmers Group Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-00088-LY, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.
Farmers Insurance gets worst rating (1 star out of 5) by many ConsumerAffairs.com users! Here are some of their comments:
“Our 2nd bad experience with Farmers. This time we were hit by a Farmers insured driver. Damage to our car and back injuries. The claims process has been a colossal joke. The claims agent is lazy, disrespectful and untrustworthy. They are trying to cheap their way out. It’s been five weeks with no resolution. However, they did offer us a rental car… which we don’t want or need! Helps me understand why insurance rates are through the roof because they try to take advantage of people which forces consulting with an attorney. Had they just settled fairly, it would have cost them $5,000. Now, we will demand much, much more. Farmers – yeah, they’ve seen a thing or two, but don’t know jack squat.”
“We trusted our agent by telling him we bought a new Mercedes S550 and needed to add it to our coverage. 2 years later a rock crashed the windshield and the agent we trusted saved us a couple of dollars by making our comprehensive coverage deductible $1,250.00. WOW! Then on top of that they tell us if we don’t take it to an aftermarket repair shop they select they may not pay the complete cost after we pay our deductible. They take incompetence and greed to a whole new level. Too bad there is not a 0 Star rating.”
“I will never ever get an insurance through Farmers or recommend it to any one else for that matter. What a lousy business. I got in an car accident earlier this year, car was total loss and I sold it to a junk yard. I notified the agent but somehow she didn’t cancel my insurance and I was paying it for months. When I noticed it I contacted the agent and to get my money reimbursed. After months of asking me for all kind of evidence that I really don’t own the vehicle anymore (they saw the pictures and knew that the car was total loss) now they simply refuse to refund. I provided them the name of the junk yard AND more importantly hard evidence: the notice of transfer and reliability of the DMV (that states I don’t own the car any more and from which date). That’s not enough for Farmers. What a despicable way of doing business and customer service!”
“Recently totaled my 2003 Z71 Tahoe. The mileage on my vehicle with just 190K, it was in immaculate condition with no issues. Insurance came back and told me they were willing to give me $4500 for it. This is absolutely ludicrous as of this particular vehicle will cost about $9500. For what they are offering me, I cannot even replace my vehicle with the same exact vehicle in the same condition. Their offer will not even cover half of what they’re going for. They say they are going based off blue book value but would consider upping it if I can show them proof that these vehicles go for more in this area.
I have sent them countless examples of what they go for in this area but they will not consider them because they are either one your new were one year older. Apparently 2003 Z71 Tahoes are rare in this area. I guess it doesn’t matter that 2002 models just like it are going for well over what they are even offering me for mine and those are in bad condition. This is absolutely ridiculous. I pay to be covered and I get nothing in return.”
“I had someone rear end my 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee over a year ago. Farmers paid for the repair with no problem. However, under Oregon law you are also entitled to receive compensation for “Diminished Value”. An accident will lower the resale value of your vehicle no matter how beautifully the repair was made. That’s diminished value (or DV) and you are entitled to compensation for that additional loss. I had two DV estimates done by reputable companies and they both estimated that loss at over $5,000. You pay these companies to do this estimate and you have no idea what they value your loss at until you pay them and see the report. They get paid the same either way so there is no incentive for them to lie or inflate the value of the loss. It’s an honest assessment. Farmers came back and said their expert valued the same loss at no more than $2,000. I refused the $2,000 and they came back with $2,250.
I complained that my vehicle suffered structural damage and that $2,250 is ridiculous. They came back with $2,500. This has been dragging on for over a year now and their offer is still less than half of the estimated loss. I chose Farmers because I believed they were a reputable company. This is not what I would have expected from them at all. Their adjuster even had the audacity to tell me my accident wasn’t showing on CarFax and suggested I not mention the accident during a sale. I’m required by law to tell the buyer about this accident, especially since it involved structural damage! In fact, if I sold it to a dealership, I’d be required to sign a document of disclosure. Are these the actions of a reputable company? Is this the kind of service you would want to experience? Be your own judge. What good is paying for insurance if they treat you like this when you need them? Do yourself a favor and steer clear off Farmers.”
“Farmers Insurance has been the worst experience of my life. I was sideswiped by one of their client who was ticketed for the accident. I was traveling eastbound in the curb lane at the posted speed limit. The Farmers client made an illegal left turn into the center lane of the same street as me and then abruptly made a lane change into my rear driver’s side door. The Farmer’s customer raced through an expired left turn arrow and lost control of his vehicle due to excessive speed. Farmers lied and said I turned right on red which is patently false. What happened was their client made an illegal left turn AFTER the left turn arrow expired and then about 5-6 car lengths down the road struck my vehicle. Suffice it to say, Farmers Insurance are liars, cheats and swindlers.
I would NEVER recommend Farmers Insurance to anyone. Lies lead to more lies. Small lies become big lies. If Farmers is so willing to tell lies then they will lie to their victims and ultimately their customers. Farmers Insurance company cannot be trusted and pray that you never have to deal with them. They are crooked and some of the most dishonest and untrustworthy people on earth. BUYER BEWARE!!”
“I have had auto/home insurance with Farmers for 15 years. With few if any claims I have been responsible for. In all auto related issues concerning disputes my Farmers agent in Santa Rosa consistently took the side of the company. The customer service has gone downhill over the 15 years. Recently my agent informed me I would be paying a increased premium for my Subaru WRX 5door hatchback. He said it was in a “performance/sports car” category. When I requested Farmers policy documentation details indicating a list of “performance/sports car” data it was not provided. When I contacted the Farmers District Manager he also refused to provide the information. I have an outstanding driving record. Assigning an extra insurance premium on my Subaru has nothing to do with my record. Cars do not break the law! People do! The “performance/sports car” category has nothing to do with my driving record.
Farmers Auto Insurance created that category for the purpose of increasing profits for the company. I requested documentation that Farmers would have to provide to the California Department of Insurance in approval of the “performance/sports car” category. Farmers failed to respond or provide information. I now have a formal complaint filed with the Ca. Dept. of Insurance against Farmers for non-disclosure and being in violation of corporate law related to lack of transparency. I would suggest that people never do business with Farmers Auto Insurance company. The complaints against them are substantial.”
“I’ve been working with Michael ** from Farmers Insurance for the last 2 weeks and HE’S THE ABSOLUTE WORST. 2 weeks ago one of their insured hit me when he ran a stop sign at an intersection, doing significant damage to my car. The front passenger side was completely bent in, leaving a big gap with an air bubble. I called them and asked them to send someone over to do an estimate and Michael told me they don’t usually do that unless the car isn’t driveable, that I’d have to go to a shop and have them do it. I tried to explain to him that the car ISN’T driveable, that I just don’t feel safe driving it in its current state but he just didn’t care and insisted I had to bring it to a shop to get an estimate.
I finally found a shop that could accommodate my schedule and location and they took a look at my car and told me I need to call Farmers and tell them to give me a rental, because this car isn’t driveable. Only then did Michael set me up with a rental. After I got my rental from Enterprise, they told me that Farmers refused to cover my damage waiver on the rental because my insurance already covers a lot of that. I called Michael and asked that Farmers cover my damage waiver and surprise surprise, he said they don’t usually do that. I pointed out that the accident was 100% their driver’s fault and he said OK, they’ll cover my damage waiver but first I have to get my insurance company to fax them a copy of my declaration.
I spent the next 2 days running around making sure all the appropriate documents were sent over (with Michael giving me the runaround repeatedly), and finally he called me and informed me that they won’t be covering my damage waiver because my own insurance company already covers a lot of that. I’m so appalled at the way Farmers has treated me. They’ve just made everything as difficult for me as possible, and Michael is all smiles and politeness on the surface but really has no sense of decency whatsoever. He’s not even professional by auto-insurance standards. (And that’s saying a lot!) If I incur any financial damages from this experience I fully plan to sue them.”
“Had a house fire. 2 days later I still have not heard from my insurance adjuster. I have called the claims # to start a claim, I was told the ins. adjuster would contact me asap… This never happened, so I call again and get the same runaround. Call a 3rd time and they give me more runaround and tell me I have to call the adjuster myself, so I did, no answer and no callback!!! I have no power in my home. I’m living wherever I can, even staying in my house with all the bad smoke fumes etc… I cannot believe that Farmers ins. has put this off like they have, for goodness sakes!!! It is my home. I have insurance and cannot get an adjuster to come here and do what is needed to get my home back in order!!! For shame on this company.”
“Farmers ins keeps jacking up your rates. Had no claims. Save over 100$ per month on car ins by switching away for them. If you’re with Farmers I’d shop around now. If thinking about Farmers ins they will double your payments in a matter of year or two. I have been driving over 30 yrs. Never had a company take advantage of me so bad.”
Reviews from: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/farmers_auto.html
I have the worst experience ever with Farmers Insurance. I wanted to cancel my insurance because I sold my car. I purposely told my insurance agent the day before my next insurance cycle that I wanted to cancel. She told me that the system might not be able to recognize my cancellation by midnight and thus I might still be charged for the next month. But she will let the company know and get me a refund ASAP if that happens. Turns out, I got charged the next day. Then my agent sent me this unclear statement saying I owe the policy 54 dollars (I did not owe anything or been in any accident). I was confused so I called and she told me she will ask the company and get back to me because apparently she doesn’t know what is going on either. I waited for more than a week, didn’t get a penny back. And so I called again and she said it is from another department and she will have to get back to me next week. Luckily this time she got back to me early saying there’s a cancellation fee of 54 dollars being charged. so I will be getting a refund of my monthly payment that was accidentally charged after the cancellation 105 – the cancellation fee 54 dollars. First of all, I have never heard something like a cancellation fee when you want to cancel your car insurance. It is a competitive market and all the insurance company try to keep their customers satisfied to build up the reputation. But Farmers is almost like since “the system” has already charged you for an extra month, we might as well come up with something and let you suck it up. And ha there is the cancellation fee. Throughout the whole time, the charges and refund were so unclear. Even when I ask for a clear statement of how they came up with the number they charged me, they never provided that. And each time they tell me different excuses. I would never use/recommend Farmers Insurance to anyone. Avoid it as much as you can –
By Brandon Lowrey
A Los Angeles homeowner hit a Farmers Insurance Co. unit with a proposed class action in California state court on Wednesday alleging the insurers illegally limited coverage of wildfire smoke damage by changing policies without adequate notice and saying it was “not actual fire damage.”
Plaintiff Ismael Frias, a resident of the Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar, said that Mid-Century Insurance Co. applied a $5,000 “Wildfire Smoke Sublimit” to his claim under his homeowner’s insurance policy. Mid-Century allegedly added the sublimit to the policy when Frias renewed in March, but didn’t clearly notify him. Frias also contends that the sublimit violates California a insurance law standardizing fire damage policies.
“The purported $5,000.00 Wildfire Smoke Sublimit violates Insurance Code section 2071, is not reflected on the declarations Page, is not plain, clear and conspicuous, and is unenforceable,” Frias argued.
Frias made a claim for damages he suffered during a wildfire on July 23. On that date, the massive Sand Canyon Fire was raging through the mountains north of Sylmar. The fire ultimately scorched nearly 65 square miles before it was contained in August, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
In September, Frias received a letter from Mid-Century saying the damage to his home wasn’t “actual fire damage” and thus was subject to the $5,000 sublimit, according to the complaint.
Frias alleges claims of breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Act.
Frias seeks to establish a class of California homeowners who had policies containing the wildfire smoke sublimit and who had submitted claims for wildfire odor, soot, smoke, char or ash damage. He also seeks compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees, according to the complaint.
“As a result of defendants’ conduct, plaintiff and members of the class and subclass have been damaged, including but not limited to, paying insurance premiums for coverage rendered illusory by the unlawful Wildfire Smoke Sublimit,” the complaint said.
Representatives for Farmers did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Frias is represented by Joshua H. Haffner and Levi M. Plesset of Haffner Law PC.
Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available.
The case is Ismael Frias et al. v. Farmers Group Inc. et al., case number BC638626, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
—Editing by Joe Phalon.
Farmers Insurance agreed to pay a $575,000 settlement to Missouri in a case that accused the company of continuing to call people after they had requested an end to the calls in violation of law that permits no-call lists.
By Mark Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
Farmers Insurance agreed to pay $575,000 to Missouri to settle a lawsuit that charged it had violated the state’s law that allows consumers to be on a no-call list.
It agreed also to provide agent training and audits of agents, according to an announcement Monday by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
More than 275 complaints from consumers led Koster to take action against California-based Farmers Insurance Exchange, Truck Insurance Exchange and Fire Insurance Exchange. Koster said Farmers agents continued to call after being instructed by consumers not to call.
“Farmers Insurance simply looked the other way while its agents were flouting Missouri’s no-call law, illegally bombarding Missouri consumers with unwanted telemarketing calls,” Koster said in the announcement. “This historic settlement combined with new training requirements should ensure Farmers reforms its practices to protect Missouri consumers.”
It is the largest amount paid by a telemarketer for violations, the state said.
Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, on Twitter @mdkcstar
Farmers Insurance Exchange will pay a total of $225,000 to three former employees to settle a federal complaint of racial discrimination and retaliation.
By Tim Sheehan email@example.com
Farmers Insurance Exchange will pay $225,000 to three former employees to settle a federal complaint over racial discrimination and retaliation at its Fresno claims office.
U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii approved the settlement on Wednesday and it was announced Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It stems from a complaint filed by the EEOC in 2013 on behalf of two Hmong employees who were terminated in 2009, as well as a third employee who was allegedly fired for testifying to the EEOC in its investigation.
The EEOC charged that prior to 2009, supervisors had instructed employees at Farmers’ branch claims office in Fresno to code payments to customers as partial payments as a way of avoiding negative customer service surveys. But a 2009 audit led to interviews of claims representatives over the partial-payment coding. Two Hmong representatives, Chia Xiong and John Yang, were later terminated, the EEOC alleged, while non-Asian employees who had also coded some cases as partial payments were retained by the company.
The EEOC complaint alleged that Farmers terminated two of its Asian employees for coding cases as partial payments “while retaining similarly situated non-Asian employees who had also coded cases as partial payments.”
After Xiong filed a complaint with the EEOC, a third employee, Jason Lowry, was interviewed by the federal agency in 2012 as part of its investigation. Within two weeks, Farmers questioned Lowry about his testimony to the EEOC, and the next day he was placed on leave. Six weeks later, Lowry was fired “due to his participation in the EEOC’s investigation,” according to the complaint.
Melissa Barrios, the EEOC Fresno office director, applauded the affected employees for coming forward with their experience with the company, “because oftentimes Asian and Pacific Islander communities are reluctant to complain.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Farmers does not admit any liability or wrongdoing.
In addition to the financial terms covering lost wages as well as damages for emotional distress, the consent decree requires Farmers to assign a monitor to its Fresno claims office to ensure compliance with federal fair employment laws, train supervisors and human-resources officers about the law and train employees about their legal rights.
“We commend Farmers Insurance Exchange for agreeing to make changes that will ensure compliance with federal law,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles district, whose territory includes Fresno.
Tim Sheehan: 559-441-6319, @TimSheehanNews
AUSTIN — A judge has tentatively approved a settlement between Farmers Insurance and the state that would resolve a long-running lawsuit alleging massive overcharges by the company in its homeowners policies more than a dozen years ago.
State District Judge Scott Jenkins of Travis County said Thursday that he would sign an order approving the settlement, which calls for refunds to Farmers customers of $84.4 million.
That comes on top of a 6.8 percent reduction in homeowners rates already implemented, for a total settlement of $127.5 million.
“I would like to get this done,” Jenkins said of the case, which has been in the courts since late 2002. That’s when Farmers and the Texas Department of Insurance first negotiated a settlement to state allegations against one of the largest property insurers.
Texas Insurance Commissioner David Mattax called the agreement “a significant step toward returning funds to deserving Farmers customers.” But consumer groups attacked the proposal as a giveaway to Farmers.
“This deal lets Farmers pocket millions of dollars in overcharges without paying interest on its wrongfully collected premiums,” said Alex Winslow of Texas Watch, which closely follows insurance issues. “The bottom line is that Farmers customers are left holding the bag.”
Winslow said the agreement “lets Farmers off the hook for millions in excessive premiums.” Testimony during two days of hearings that concluded Thursday indicated that while Farmers overcharged policyholders by 12 percent to 18 percent, the settlement required it to return only 6.8 percent.
Mattax said during the hearing that he was unable to secure a larger refund from Farmers during the negotiations.
Farmers does not admit wrongdoing under the settlement, and company officials indicated they wanted to resolve the case after several years in court.
As many as 1.8 million current and former Farmers policyholders could be affected by the settlement, but no refund checks or premium credits will be issued before a “final fairness” hearing in the class action case on Feb. 1. Three intervenors in the case are opposed to the settlement and indicated they will raise objections during that hearing.
Policyholders who are affected were given less comprehensive policies in the wake of the mold crisis that rocked the Texas home insurance market more than a decade ago. Premiums on those policies were not decreased to reflect the reduced coverage, according to the state.
Other affected customers were not given premium reductions for discounts they were entitled to. Still other policyholders paid excessive premiums for auto and home insurance because of inaccurate credit reports used by the company.
Credit reports are used by most insurers in determining premiums their customers pay.
The case was the first class action insurance lawsuit ever filed by the attorney general’s office. Farmers countersued, insisting it did nothing wrong.
However, late in 2002, Farmers conceded and agreed to a package of refunds, rate reductions and premium credits that was similar to what Judge Jenkins approved Thursday.
Follow Terrence Stutz on Twitter at @t_stutz.