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.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti filed a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance

Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti filed a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance and other insurance companies claiming they worked together to manipulate damage estimates and low-ball claims payments after the 2005 hurricanes. The lawsuit claims the companies coerced policyholders into settling damage claims for less than their actual value by editing engineering reports, delaying payments and forcing policyholders to go to court to challenge the estimates.

"This alleged scheme," Foti said in a written statement, "gave insurers an unjust advantage over policyholders ... by reaping huge profits from the misfortunes of persons whom they pledged to protect from the risk of loss."