An insurance company refusing to pay claims? Nah. Never happens.
Via the wretched Daily News web site:
Suit: Farmers hasn't paid Station Fire claims
By Greg Risling, Associated Press Writer
lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Farmers Group Inc. of refusing to pay
claims to policyholders whose homes were damaged by last summer's
massive Station Fire near Los Angeles. The suit, which claims breach of contract and unfair business
practices, seeks unspecified damages for more than 1,000 homeowners who
reported smoke, ash and other damages from the blaze that killed two
firefighters, destroyed 89 homes and scorched 250 square miles of
Angeles National Forest.
Farmers denied or minimized claims to boost its bottom line, said Brian
Kabateck, an attorney for the plaintiffs, adding the average loss among
homeowners named in the lawsuit was $25,000 to $50,000. "Once again, it appears Farmers has engaged in the egregious practice
of denying or underpaying claims, simply to frustrate policyholders and
discourage them from seeking the compensation they deserve," Kabateck
said. Farmers spokesman Jerry Davies said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit
because the company had not seen it yet. A phone message left for the
state Department of Insurance was not immediately returned. Farmers and other insurers were accused of similar practices after the
1994 Northridge earthquake that killed 72 people and caused an
$15.3 billion in damage.
Other insurance companies have paid claims for the Station Fire, Kabateck said. Farmers is accused of hiring biased consultants to deny or undercut
claims as well as being unreasonable in its claims adjustment practices. "The result
is that plaintiffs and defendants' other insureds are cheated of monies
rightfully owed to them," according to the lawsuit.