Florida Insurance Official Accused State Farm of Bullying Customers And Claiments
Insurance officials in Tallahassee seem to be fed up with State Farm's tactics and making it worse is the company's planned 57% rate hike. The state is working with consumer advocates in an effort to stop State Farm's bullying tactics.
State Farm, once the state's largest insurer with over 1 million residential homeowners insurance policies now has roughly 470,000 policeis. After trying to raise rates as much as 60% in the past, the insurer threatened to pull out of the state if Florida did not allow them to raise insurance rates in 2010.
Now it wans to raise premiums for rental property owners, in some cases more than doubling the owners current rate. State Farm has about 33,000 rental policies in the state.
In Orange county rates would jump 60.7% or $720, parts of South Florida would go from $4,857 to $14,411 a year.
State Farm has not written any new policies in the state for a while and in 20120 it refused to renew 125,000 polcies. Many suspect State Farm is just wanting out of Florida and can only do it by raising rated beyond what people can pay, thereby giving them a face-saving out.
In addition to this rate hike for rental properties, State Farm is also asking for a nearly 15% increase for regualr homes.
At the center of this increase debate is the desire of State Farm Florida Insurance to repay its big brother State Farm Mutual a $750 million loan.
State Farm has also been criticized for ruthless tactics in settling auto accident claims, using craigs list to determine values for vehicles.
One person we spoke to who asked to remain anonymous said she was hit by a State Farm insured in 2011 and the insurance company used craigs list to determine the value of her vehcile, roughly 50% less than all other estimates available such as Kelly Blue Book or NADA, or sales of vehciels at reputable dealers in her area. She says she asked of the comparable list but they refused to show her, but finally after some demanding, State Farm finally gave it to her.
She set about calling each ad State farm used in the comparable, there were 30 on the list. 15 proved to be false ads or no one at that number knows anything about a vehicle for sale, 8 were ads place in bad faith, meaning what the ad said and what the seller was actually wanting after talking were different, often times the ad did not disclose damage. The other 7 were out of area more than 50 miles.
Only after she went out and got comparables herself did State Farm pay most of what she demanded. She had only bought her vehcile 40 days before the accident in which she was rear ended at a stoplight.
State Farm has the most complaints in Florida for slow to pay and bad faith negotiations in settling auto accidents for those with a claim against State Famr but not insured with State Farm according to the Florida Department of Insurance.