The "Farmers Insurance News-Alert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group. This includes 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, when known are sited.
|Wednesday, January 18, 1995
Nation's Insurers Hit by 30 Quake-Related L.A. Lawsuits; Homeowners: Victims of
Northridge temblor allege 16 companies stalled on claims, mishandled asbestos problems.;
By: THOMAS S. MULLIGAN
The filing of the suits on the anniversary date of the Northridge earthquake has legal
as well as symbolic significance, Bidart said. Although some insurance companies have
waived the statute of limitations
Bidart said that while each lawsuit involves a different set of facts, one of the most
striking themes to emerge from the allegations is that insurers seemed unprepared to deal
with asbestos that was exposed by
"Carriers mishandled asbestos problems across the board," he said.
Some plaintiffs accuse their insurers of simply ignoring or underestimating the expense
of asbestos mitigation, while others contend that their companies were aware of dangerous
levels of asbestos
In one lawsuit, Martin C. Coren described a yearlong struggle with his insurer, San Antonio, Tex.-based United Services Automobile Assn., over severe quake damage to his Northridge home.
Coren alleged that the first insurance adjuster assigned by USAA arbitrarily attempted
to keep the claim under $125,000, whereas the actual damage was about four times that
amount. The adjuster instructed a
Thus, the preliminary inspection failed to note--among other things--severe cracks in the foundation and stucco damage that revealed asbestos, Coren said.
A USAA spokesman said that he was unable to comment on the specific case. But he said the company believes it has resolved 89% of its 8,200 earthquake claims to its customers' satisfaction.
He added that USAA, which estimates its earthquake losses at more than $250 million, has created a catastrophe team in Los Angeles with an ombudsman who is available to help resolve disputes.
In another lawsuit, Harry and Dorothy Hasekian of Sherman Oaks allege that their
insurer, Pasadena-based National Automobile & Casualty Insurance Co., told them that
their quake damage would fall below their
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