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The "Farmers Insurance Newsalert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group, including fraud reports, consumer complaints, lawsuit's and other legal actions taken against this company. All information contained herein is for educational purposes only. Original sources are sited.

 

Wednesday, June 24, 1992
Southland Edition
Section: Business
Page: D-2

Agents Sue Farmers Insurance Over Access to Data Network;

By: THOMAS S. MULLIGAN


Agents for Farmers Insurance Group have sued the Los Angeles-based
insurer for allegedly coercing them to buy computer systems at inflated
prices.

Companion antitrust lawsuits filed last Thursday in U.S. District
Court in Austin, Tex., contend that Farmers denies agents access to its
computer information network unless they buy computer systems costing
about $19,000. Similar equipment is available in the open market for
$3,000 to $4,000, according to the lawsuits.

The Farmers network, which supplies information on prices, marketing
and new products, is considered a valuable tool, said attorney Rod
Bordelon of the Austin firm of Rentea & Whitehead, which represents the
agents.

Farmers spokesman John Millen declined to discuss the suit beyond
saying: "We were a bit surprised by it because the majority of our agents
have been enthusiastic about getting new technology to serve their
customers."

One of the suits was filed by United Farmers Agent Assn., a trade
group representing 16,000 Farmers agents nationwide. The other is a
class-action suit brought by two agents from Houston on behalf of all
Farmers agents individually, Bordelon said.


Copyright (c) 1992 Times Mirror Company

 

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