It was business as usual just a year after Katrina on the Farm in Indiana. Make no mistake, the insurance regulators in Indiana, like most in this country are captured. Unlike our own captured insurance commish the bunch in Indiana actually broke out the wet noodle though. The larger question is does any of this sound familar to those of us here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? Claims Magazine has the May 2009 story:
As part of an agreement with the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI), State Farm will reevaluate close to 35,000 policyholder claim files and pay $275,000, which will be deposited into the State of Indiana’s General Fund.
Adopted by IDOI Commissioner Jim Atterholt, the agreement will mark the conclusion of the market conduct examination that began in March, 2007 after 200 State Farm policyholders lodged complaints. The examination, which focused on State Farm’s response to claims resulting from an April, 2006 hailstorm in Indianapolis, found no violations of state law. During the course of IDOI’s examination process, State Farm has already revisited and paid policyholders an additional $1,799,544.
“It is always our goal to pay what we owe,” said Dick Luedke, a spokesperson for State Farm. “Of the nearly 50,000 claims we received from this storm, less than 1 percent resulted in a complaint filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance. State Farm has paid $273 million to policyholders whose property was damaged by this storm.
The recent agreement calls for a continued review of 7,000 closed-without-payment policyholder claims and an additional 29,000 claims related to the hail storm of 2006. As a result of the settlement, the state established a toll-free number for consumers insured by State Farm to voice any lingering concerns.
“This agreement resolves our specific areas of concern as to claims handling,” said Carol Mihalik, chief deputy commissioner and counsel of the Consumer Protection Unit of the Department of Insurance. “This included the use of independent adjusters, consistency of use of engineering reviews, the application of the appraisal provision within the insurance policies, and the need for multiple estimates and re-inspections prior to a final payment.”