Farmers Insurance Liable For $80M for Underpaying Oklahomans Over 13 Year Period
Underpaying claims for 13 years
Homeowner insurance giant Farmers Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services in Switzerland, was accused of underpaying homeowners claims to approximately 76,000 Oklahomans over a 13 year period. The Mid-westerners had enough and sued the insurer for breach of contract and bad faith insurance practices. According to news reports, while the average cost of underpayment per household was approximately $575, an Oklahoma jury awarded the plaintiffs a great deal more.
The award consisted of $50 million for breach of contract, $50 million for engaging in bad faith insurance practices and another $30 million for punitive damages. However, some of the damages were duplicated, so the $130 million award was reduced to $80 million. Homeowners are expected to receive 15% interest on the actual damages and attorneys fees. The insurer says that it plans to appeal the verdict.
David vs. Goliath
Can the average homeownerreally fight back when a global insurance company doesnt honor their valid claim? Absolutely. Here are some tips on how David can beat Goliath:
- Keep records of every conversation and correspondence sent and received.
- Dont be afraid to speak with a supervisor if your claim representative isnt helpful.
- Stay on top of your claim by being persistent with your claim representative.
- Contact your states Insurance Commissioner if you cant get satisfaction. To find yours, go to: http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm.
- Seek the advice of an attorney. As this case shows, others like you may be in a similar situation and an experienced attorney whose practice focuses in this area of the law will be able to determine which courses of action would provide the best remedy for you.
If your insurance company has denied your valid claim, contact an experienced bad faith insurance attorney to discuss your situation with. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential. In addition, most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis in this area of the law meaning that you dont pay anything unless they recover for you.