Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Farmers Insurance Lowballs Storm Victims

During last December's wind storm, a 140-foot poplar ripped open the roof and enveloped the Denommee-Cronin house in West Seattle.

Nearly a year later, the house is still a wreck.

"There was a massive crack, one corner to other," said Gerard Denommee. "The whole sound in the house changed as it was split wide open and the rain as pouring down."

It was so bad, the fire department had to evacuate the family in the middle of the night. Yet their lowest moment came eight days after the storm, when Farmers Insurance offered them just $40,000 for repairs.

"And then he brought us out to a nice lunch and handed us the $40,000 check and I was floored, horrified and in shock," said Kathi Cronin.
The family says Farmers refused to even look behind the walls or ceiling for damage.

"I want them to think about would they feel safe living in this house? Would they feel safe with their children or their grandchildren living in this house?" said Cronin.

But Denommee and Cronin say that's exactly what Farmers did, so they hired their own adjuster, who estimated it would take more than $200,000 to fix the home.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

you do realize that independent adjusters earn a large percentage of the total settlement, right?

12/01/2007 8:21 PM  
Blogger Blog Against the Machine said...

First of all beware of FARMERS INSURANCE. To any of you out there working for this company, I understand, you need to make a living. So do doctors performing abortions. Also, I would not be writing this now if it weren't for my belief that what I have to say is demonstrative of the industry as a whole. Furthermore, I have heard that some companies are worse than FARMERS. Nonetheless, my personal experience is with FARMERS so I write about them.

If you are a customer of FARMERS INSURANCE I urge you to take your business elsewhere. If possible, try to use a non-profit insurance company. I have been fortunate enough to use USAA Insurance for my entire adult life. Since this is a non-profit insurance company it operates differently from the rest of the industry, and I have been very satisfied with their service. However, I had the misfortune of encountering FARMERS INSURANCE in the following manner.

In 2006 three people from Long Beach California by the names of LETICIA MONTES, ERIN DIVA, and ALEX FUKUMA, and the Association they represent, stole more than $10,000 dollars from me. By saying they stole from me here is what they did.

The Association these three scoundrels represent is a Home Owners Association. By statutory law in California, and according to the terms established by the Home Owners Association, the Association is responsible for the Common Areas of the complex. Due to a water leak from another common area, the wall cavities in the walls between my unit and a neighboring unit developed mold. I had an architect verify that these wall cavities are Common Areas, and I had the company that eventually remediated the mold verify that the mold was in the wall cavities. Nonetheless, these scoundrels were unhappy about having to pay for the damage that was caused by their mismanagement of the plumbing problem. So in a daring act of thievery, these criminals put a lien on my property so that I would be forced to give them $11,258.73.

It turns out the three bandits - LETICIA MONTES, ERIN DIVA, and ALEX FUKUMA, and their Association are insured by FARMERS INSURANCE. Thus, when I filed a law suit to get back the money that was stolen from me, FARMERS began vigorous rounds of legal gamesmanship on behalf of these thieves to prevent me from vindicating my rights and avoid addressing the merits of my claim. As a result of the insurance company's games, I have spent more than $14,000 in legal fees and costs. This will more than double if FARMERS INSURANCE insists on taking this case to trial.

Now, almost a year and a half later, FARMERS INSURANCE has apparently come to terms with the fact that gamesmanship will not be able to defeat my legal claim, and I will be heard in court on the merits. Therefore, I was offered $14,000 to settle my claim. A year ago $14,000 would have compensated me for the money that was stolen by MONTES, DIVA, and FUKUMA. However, after a year of procedural games, that money won't even pay my attorney's fees. FARMERS created a catch-22 and this is how these insurance companies and the legal system operate all the time. They claim that decisions made by insurance companies are a matter of economics to get the most benefit from the least cost. But in reality it is corruption. By spending more than a year running up legal fees on both sides and then trying to settle a case for what it was worth before incurring those fees on both sides, FARMERS and companies like them dis-serve their customers, stock holders, the legal system, and the public as a whole.

Ironically, I warned MONTES, DIVA, and FUKUMA before filing suit that this would happen. But when you are insured you don't have to pay the consequences of your actions By letting the insurance company and all of their customers share the cost, and reaping the benefits of the externalities, corruption is not only legalized, but encouraged and controlling the system. That is the current state of our civil legal system and insurance industry.

12/15/2007 11:52 AM  

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