Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Another day, another form letter. Picareli sent another one, acknowledging the inquiry from the California Department of Insurance. At least we know that State Farm is in their system.

The next few weeks are going to be tough, seeing as how everyone goes on vacation for Christmas and New Years. I'm going to take some time off, as well, but will be using the time to gather more media and legal ammunition.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Team Leader Picareli called again. I have no idea why he called, other than to ask me if the letter I sent (last week) contained any "new information." I wasn't sure what to tell him. That more state, federal and local agencies had been contacted?

Again, he asked me to fax him the letter. At this point, I felt it only fair to ask him why, after the horrible way State Farm has treated us, should we do anything to make his life easier?

The only interesting part of the conversation was his admitting that they did not perform a thorough investigation. He admits it. He said, "Judging by the evidence, we're making a reasonable assumption..." I pointed out that it's exactly that -- his assumption -- that's screwing things up. I also pointed out that if they were to actually inspect the damage, they wouldn't have to rely on assumption.

Once again, the man resorted to reading me chapter and verse from the State Farm Avoidance and Denial Handbook.

We're looking at attorneys now....

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Winding my way through the web, I'm finding all kinds of people with similar stories, where State Farm ripped them off for similar circumstances:

"Jim of Plant City FL (7/14/03):
Our pool drain pipe busted, causing all the water to drain from our pool and the walls and floor to bulge. State Farm sent geologists and engineers out to drill. The engineer determined that the breaking of the drain pipe was caused by the sudden collapse of dirt and slurry under the pool caused by an artesian well and limestone. State Farm denied our claim by stating that the drain pipe broke because of "normal wear and tear." We have hired an attorney and are seeking mediation and possible legal action if our pool is not replaced."

There's no artesian well on the second floor of my house, I promise you. What you have here is a sudden break obviously NOT caused by wear and tear. State Farm's response is typical. They're trying to bury this guy. lists a fair number of stories about consumers' plight with State Farm. It's a very fair list: sometimes the consumers are out of line. This one, however, hit home.

Makes you wonder why State Farm, a Fortune 500 company with 2002 revenues of over $42 billion (with a "B") can't tend to business.

If you have a minute and REALLY want to get freaked out, read this one:

"Breanna of York PA (7/11/03):
On June 7, 2003 our basement flooded to over a foot of water. We immediately called a plumber to come help us with the problem. We then called State Farm to ask what we need to do next to get the water out of the basement. (Note: our basement has two big rooms - one furnished, one not). The State Farm rep we spoke with was David R. He "authorized" us to call a company called Service Master to come to the house and start the process of cleaning out the basement.

So we called Service Master and they came over and pumped between 3,000-4,000 gallons of water out of our basement. This is not including what the plumber had already pumped out. Just to remind you, the only reason Service Master is at our home, is because State Farm authorized them to be there. So they continue to do their job and pump out water and take up the carpet. We were never told, by ANYONE, this would not be a valid claim, therefore we assumed everything Service Master was doing was routine procedure. We were told by State Farm (David) that Service Master's services would be free. (And if you listen to the recording State Farm has of that conversation, you will find this to be true).

But when Service Master was finished, they informed us that we were to pay them our deductible ($500) and then State Farm would take care of the rest. So we went ahead and paid them the $500, although it seemed fishy. This all happened on a Saturday night, so we had to wait until Monday for State Farm to call us and give us our claim number. They called Monday and informed us that our claim will not be covered and we have to pay for the remainder of Service Master's fee's (which ended up being over $2,000). Needless to say, I was furious. I called State Farm and spoke with our agent, Trish Howser, and told her of the situation. She was no help at all.

I then spoke to another State Farm Claims rep and she told me that they (State Farm) never told us to call Service Master and also told us that this claim would never be valid. She also said that Service Master told us this claim would not be valid as well. (Service Master never said that - they actually quoted us around $8,000-$10,000 worth of damage - I have that conversation on video tape so I CAN prove them wrong). Everything this lady was telling me was a lie, so I told her the gentleman's name we spoke with and had her listen to the recording of that conversation. She called back and said that I was right and that State Farm did authorize us to call Service Master. But she denies they told us it was free. (Surprise! Another State Farm lie). So she told me they are going to keep the $500 deductible for Service Master but then State Farm will pay the rest. Which they did - over $1500.

The problem is, we have over $10,00 worth of damage to our basement not including our personal belongings, furniture, etc. My question is, how can State Farm pay for some of a claim, but not all of it? How can you take responsibility for half? I just don't understand. I called our rep (Mia B) and told her that this was ridiculous and I expect our carpet to be paid for as well as our electricity bill, at the very least. Service Master ripped up our carpet, put it on their truck, and threw it away. So we have no carpet now. They are only supposed to lift the carpet up and dry it. Not take it and throw it away. I asked Mia why we are not covered for this damage and she told me that sump pumps are not covered in our policy. Nowhere in the policy I have, is there an exclusion for sump pumps.

State Farm doesn't even know why our basement flooded. Mia is STILL trying to get in touch with our plumber who was here that night to see what caused the flood. It has been over a month now and that tells me State Farm is not trying very hard. I call her each week to see what is going on, and she keeps putting me off. I am in the process of writing a letter to the claims department, hoping for a response. How can State Farm say they are not covering a claim without even knowing what has happened? Mia said that she would come out to the house to inspect, but that hasn't happened yet either."

Like a good neighbor, eh?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

A good thing happened today. The State Attorney General's office sent me a letter with a form for me to fill out. It was a follow up form, inquiring as to whether my case had been resolved or was still pending. It asked for all the information again, which I filled in and sent back to the AG's office. It was worth the 37¢ stamp to keep me in the system.

Meanwhile, I got ANOTHER call from Team Manager Picardi of State Farm. Now, I get it: Every time a state, local or Federal agency gets my letter, they send a copy to him. I suspect that flags him to call the policyholder so that his logs can show that he responded. So the guy calls me. Again, for no reason, other to read me chapter and verse out of the State Farm cheer book.

This time, I thank him for calling and let him know that unless State Farm is willing to investigate the damage and honor their policy, there's really no point wasting his -- or my -- time. He admits as much as hangs up.

An hour later, there's a voicemail for me from -- you guessed it -- Team Manager Picardi, asking me to please fax him the letter I sent to his office. Then he calls my office again to request the same thing.

Gee, maybe now he understands what it's like to be kept waiting. Hope my delay doesn't infringe on his Christmas far as I'm concerned, he can wait for the U.S. postal service just like everyone else. Grrrrrrr.

Finally, I need to go on record and document something else that's really weird. State Farm has issued me a check to cover the hole they tore in my ceiling. It's check #1-23-026431 for $479.92. That's fine. What's weird is that the Coverage Description on the check is coded for "Water/Freezing - Building". At least it documents the Loss Date as August 27, 2003.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Yesterday I mailed off the following letter to our Team Manager at State Farm. I wonder if they even read these things. I know that they're incredibly anal about their faxes. For example, a policyholder cannot fax anything directly to an adjuster. At State Farm, the fax must go to their central office for scanning and then be forwarded eletronically to the adjuster. Which means it can take up to 3 days for your adjuster to receive a fax that arrives in two minutes.

Sort of defeats the whole purpose of faxing, no? It's the same with their letters. Even though this genius works in Westlake Village, the letter has to be sent to Bakersfield. You're probably reading this before he is....

Here's my latest response to State Farm:

"December 6, 2003

Richard Picarelli
P.O. Box 21330
Bakersfield, CA 93390-9819

Dear Mr. Picareli:

In your correspondence of December 3, 2003, you and your “investigators” once again fail to grasp the reality of the circumstances involved in our claim 75-M368-089.

In that letter, you once again mistakenly conclude that 'the damage to your home was a result of a continuous or repeated leak due to a deteriorated shower pan.'

Once again, let me remind you that we are NOT claiming damages as a result of any shower pan leak. We are claiming the sudden break in the shower pan, which two independent experts have confirmed was sudden, not the result of damage over time.

Your letter asks that we forward additional information:

Claims and complaints against you have been filed with the California State Department of Insurance, the Better Business Bureau, the California State Attorney’s Office. A public website has been launched to collect similar case studies involving State Farm via And investigative reporters across the country are following this case – including your correspondence -- via

I hereby reiterate my demand that State Farm find coverage for repairing the shower pan as this sudden break is most definitely covered by our policy.


Rob Frankel"

Monday, December 08, 2003

Holy cow, take a look at this story submitted by Diane in Florida. When you start reading, it sounds like just another story. But it's not "just another story." This time, State Farm actually said they'd cover a leak, then reneged, then eventually paid for the leak! This is the perfect story about how you absolutely must hammer State Farm over their heads until they wake up and do the right thing:

"I will tell you my story, just DO NOT Give them my name. I live in the state of Florida so I'm basically stuck. We can't change companies as NO ONE wants to write us in Florida. I have had my home, car and boat insurance with State Farm for over 20 years.

"I had another insurance company prior. We kept hearing water running, and our water bill went sky high. I did not see any leaks or anything but I called a plumber. Seems we had a Leak in the copper pipe (UNDER THE CONCRETE FLOOR) under the house. They had to jack hammer thru the floor to repair it. The insurance company REFUSED To pay, I was SO MAD.

"I called around, and ended up with State Farm, who assured me they DID cover leaks under the floor. 

"Well, about a year later, the SAME thing happened again but in another place. I called the leak detection team, and sure enough they found another leak. Before we did anything else we called State Farm. They sent out an adjuster (about a week later). Of course all this time, we were having to run outside to turn OFF the water and on when we needed it It was a real nuisance.

"Finally, the adjuster got back to me and told me that was NOT a covered expense. Because pipes were NORMAL Maintenance. I was LIVID and asked what kind of NORMAL maintenance people would do on pipes underneath a house. He could not answer that. Then I said well what if I just DO NOT fix it and it causes a sink hole, and the house falls in, and he said then that would not be covered because I knew of that and didn't exercise reasonable care.

"We ended up getting a plumber to replumb the entire house so the pipes would NOT be under the floor anymore. Meantime, we filed a protest and a complaint with the insurance commissioners office. We were really very mad because we ASKED about this specific condition BEFORE we chose State Farm and we were told it WAS covered. I put that into the complaint as well.

"On their behalf, I would say the Agent that sold us the policy did admit to them that he had told us that was a covered item. Due to that, and our consistent follow up, with calling, writing and complaining about 8 or 9 months later they agreed to pay for the "repair". The only thing is we could not wait that time without fixing so we had to replumb the house , and they said that was NOT covered. HOWEVER, we finally got them to agree to paying about $1200 which was what it had cost us for the prior one, from the other company. 

"I was NOT at all happy with the way they stalled and put that off. For the money we pay for the insurance, I feel things should be covered without such a runaround. 

"Being in the state of Florida I have no recourse but to stay with them, because no other companies will cover us. If you get dropped you have to go to the state and pay astronomical rates.

"So that's my ONE claim experience in 20 years, but they NEVER have a problem raising my insurance every year.

"If I can help with anything else let me know. Regards, Diane"

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Amazing. State Farm just keeps on cranking out the bullshit. Today, a letter from Claim Team Manager Richard Picarelli, (818) 865-4651, arrived which is his supposed response to the inquiry launched by the Better Business Bureau. Check out the text of his letter. This guy STILL doesn't understand what's going on:

"This letter responds to your correspondence of November 25, 2003 to Claim Manager John Strange and your inquiry to The Better Business Bureau.

"We have reviewed your claim again and regret to advise that we continue to find no coverage for your loss. Our investigation determined the damage to your home was a result of a continuous or repeated leak due to a deteriorated shower pan. Your Homeowners Policy excludes these damages. Please refer to our correspondence dated September 19th and November 14th, 2003.

"I regret we are unable to find coverage for your loss. If you have additional information or questions, please contact me."

Well, there you have it. The part about determining "the damage to your home was a result of a continuous or repeated leak due to a deteriorated shower pan" tells you everything you need to know. We're not claiming damage FROM the shower pan. We're claiming the sudden break IN the shower pan.

These guys just don't listen. And they obviously don't care. Judging from the people who have written to me, they don't care about much.

I'm composing my written response to the Team Manager so that they know I am not going away. In the meantime, more reporters are calling. They sniff a story here.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

For what it's worth, I received a nice form letter from the State of California's Department of Insurance. Nothing terribly original about it, but it is nice to read about all the stuff that they plan on doing. My address is custom printed on the letter, but the signature from the state's Associate Insurance Compliance Officer is part of the form letter.

At least I'm in the system. Now it's a race to see who's going to strike first: the state, the regulatory agencies, the Better Business Bureau or the media.

A TV reporter from Illinois called today to get the story. She asked me why I contacted her if I'm in California. I told her there were two reasons:

1. Illinois is State Farm's home state
2. When an issue hits the web, it becomes everyone's issue. In fact, the web is the tool that allowed me to discover how many others across America have been ripped off in a similar fashion.

We're only a week or two old. The story is gaining traction.

I also have posted the year's worth of articles about State Farm's misadventures with its policyholders at

The link is in the middle of the page.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The incoming stories from real victims continue to amaze me. Today, I received this from Mark (I've withheld his last name) who has been a professional adjuster himself. I'm including my responses to him:

At 11:41 AM -0600 12/3/03, Mark (Last Name Withheld) wrote thusly:
MARK: Rob,

I've handled property insurance claims, including homeowner's losses for over 20 years, both as an independent and staff adjuster. While I was an independent, I handled some homeowner's claims for State Farm. As a staff adjuster, I worked for Fireman's Fund, the Hartford, CIGNA and ACE USA. And in that time, I've handled many claims for leaking and broken shower pans.

ROB: Hi Mark:

I'm interested! Always can use some good information.

MARK: As an experienced adjuster, I can tell you that what the claim representative may have been looking for is evidence of a sudden and accidental break in the shower pan as opposed to wear and tear or deterioration over a period of time. Most homeowner's policies would pay for one loss and probably exclude the other. Even so, many policies have language, for example, that will pay for repairing a broken pipe within a wall even if the break occurred from corrosion over time. Yours appears to have such language. In my experience, however, shower pans, depending on their construction and installation, are a major maintenance problem and, as a result, are a major leak hazard.

ROB: Here's the first issue: By all accounts (from leak detector people and plumbers) this was a sudden break, although neither speculated as to the cause of the break. As I write in the blog, even the State Farm agent said that "if a 500 pound man was in your shower and the shower pan broke, that would be covered."

At that point, I told him that indeed, I NOW remember a 500 pound man jumping up and down in my shower! NOW will you fix it? Obviously, he said no. But the point remains: State Farm would cover it if it were a sudden break. They simply choose not to view it that way, because they haven't investigated it thoroughly.

MARK: Your story did not have sufficient details to assess whether or not State Farm made a fair decision based on your insurance contract but their bedside manner certainly seems to have left much to be desired. As I'm sure you know, no homeowner's insurance policy is meant to be a maintenance policy on your home although many people today, especially in tough economic time, try to use them that way.

ROB: Absolutely. And I'm not a hand out kind of guy. I repair my own sprinklers, seed my own lawns, etc. I can't even remember when I last filed any claims.

MARK: Regardless, I was taught early on in my career that my job was to find a way to pay a claim - not find a way to decline it. As such, I've always given the insured the benefit of the doubt unless the evidence against the claim is undeniable and the policy language against coverage is unavoidable. The companies that I've worked for have more or less embraced that philosophy. And I've found most of the claim reps I've worked with to be even-handed and fair-minded people. After all, they're homeowners themselves and carry the same homeowner's insurance. Hopefully, although this doesn't sound like the case with you, they treat other claimants as they themselves would wish to be treated.

ROB: I was hoping so. But I was disappointed.

MARK: Never-the-less, I continue to hear and read personal horror stories from neighbors, friends and in the media about how claims are mishandled often times from lack of experience or from a contentious attitude or mean spirit on the part of the insurer. As an example, a friend of mine had his roofing claim denied after a hail storm damaged many houses in our area including mine. Even though houses to all sides of his had major hail damage, the adjuster (not State Farm) told him that the trees shielded his roof from the hail. I inspected his roof myself, and although it was heavily deteriorated and, as such, it was difficult to discern hail damage in the asphalt shingles, the metal chimney flashings and caps had a multitude of pock marks. When I asked my friend about whether or not the adjuster had seen that damage, he said the adjuster explained away the damage by blaming it on falling acorns!

ROB: Well, there you have it: there's this attitude on the part of some adjusters that seems to be saying, "the burden of proof to get coverage is on the homeowner." Hardly the stuff of the "good neighbor" commercials we watch on TV. My sense is that since State Farm is going to have to pay out heavily for the California fires, they're putting normal, legitimate homeowners on the back burners, so to speak. Hoping we'll go away.

MARK: I told my friend that he had paid for a replacement cost policy and that even though the insurer may not wish to replace his deteriorated roofing, if it was damaged by hail, they had a legal obligation to do so. I told my friend the adjuster would sound pretty pathetic using his acorn explanation before a judge and/or jury. Instead of filing a complaint with the state department of insurance or filing suit in small claims court, my friend unfortunately chose to replace the roofing himself at his own expense because he didn't believe he could successfully fight the insurer. The worst part of it was, his insurer, after declining his storm damage claim, sent him  notice  that he had 30 days to replace his deteriorated roofing or else they would cancel his policy!  At least they didn't cancel his policy for making a claim like some other insurers have done. 

Mark (Last Name Withheld)

ROB: Amazing. Thank you for your story, Mark. I'm publishing it (without names, of course) on the blog site for others to read. This is good stuff from a real professional.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The good news is that investigative reporters around the country are aware of State Farm's ineptitude when it comes to actually helping the people they insure. One reporter actually forwarded a set of articles which document State Farm's repeated failure to live up to its promises. I'll be posting those articles for download a bit later.

The articles date back to 1999, appearing in serious publications like the Washington Times.

Meanwhile, here in Southern California, State Farm continues to blitz radio and other media with its "good neighbor" propaganda. At any time of day, you can hear them talk about being there for victims of the recent fires we had here.


Just wait til those fire victims (over 4800 homes were lost here) try to get their claims processed. I'm sure there will be plenty of photo opportunities for State Farm's publicity department, while legitimate homeowners are left stranded.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Thanksgiving holiday is the week when business slows down. Nobody will return calls because they're all traveling home for the holidays. That means I have plenty of time to load up contacting the media.

A quick Google search has revealed a Mother Lode of investigative reporters at with almost 250 located in California alone. I'll spend the rest of my free time over the holiday composing a pitch letter to reporters in California and Illinois, which is State Farm's home state.

Now that more people are sending their stories, we might be able to get some press and tell America how State Farm is destroying our Christmas!

Interestingly, I'm still getting inquiries from people who were ripped off by a major credit card company; the case that I won by going to the web last year. I'm constantly amazed at how far and deeply the web reaches those in need.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

It just gets weirder....Today I got a form letter from "Fire Claim Manager" John Strange (I kid you not, that's his real name). Mr. Strange writes that, "I appreciate the time you have spent in bringing your concerns to our attention. You are a valued policyholder."

He's kidding, right?

If the whole process weren't so infuriating, it would be downright hilarious. I'm sitting down now to compose my response to Mr. Strange.

As a "valued policyholder", of course.

This is the letter that went out to Mr. Strange today:

"John Strange
Fire Claim Manager
State Farm Insurance
3333 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Dear Mr. Strange:

I’m in receipt of your form letter which has done nothing to alleviate the situation regarding claim # 75-M368-089. In fact, yours is the fourth letter I’ve received from your company which apologizes for your inaction and refusal to thoroughly investigate the claim.

I have now contacted my agent, your claims manager, your Team Manager and you regarding this matter. To a man, each repeats the company line. Nobody investigating the matter.

Our insurance policy most certainly does cover the damage which is described in the claim and I am holding State Farm to its contractual obligations to cover the damages to our home.

Inasmuch as State Farm refuses to properly investigate this claim, I am reporting the companyƂ’s bad faith to the appropriate agencies, authorities and media outlets until someone at your end makes a good faith effort to resolve our claim properly.

It would make your claim that I am “a valued policyholder” far less laughable.


Rob Frankel"

Saturday, November 22, 2003

The support mail continues to pour in, starting off the day with this quickie:

"They want you to continue to pay, but they don't want to pay - ever. Find another insurance company as soon as possible. Try to get a refund for the amounts you paid to State Farm, and let them know why you transferred from their company to another.

Don't continue to feed the mongrel that bites you, kick his arse out the door and let him find his food elsewhere.

Good luck with State Farm rip-off insurance!!!

Cindy - Liverpool, New York

In the meantime, State Farm has sent me a fresh new copy of my policy for inspection. Actually, since the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing, they've sent me three copies.

Going through the policy, picking out the exact language which shows the where and how of the State Farm rip off.

Friday, November 21, 2003

More than one investigative consumer reporter has sent a reply about this matter. In fact, I took a break from work today and tracked down no fewer than 10 California-based TV Consuemr Reporters. The Federal Trade Commission has a nifty complaint registration form, too, at . I filled it out, limiting my complaint to 2000 characters. The Feds are hearing about it, too. The interest is building.

I continue to receive excellent support and stories like this one from Todd in New York:

"Specifically addressing your "leak" situation......... my situation (actually 2) will be usefull..

Our washer had a malfunction and flooded our basement. When we say what happened, we immediately rushed and rented a wet-vac and sucked out as much water as possible. Because it was a weekend, we couldn't call the insurance company. When we called them on Monday, they send out ServiceMaster, who claimed to have removed several thousand gallons of water (not true) The tank in their truck could not have help more than 500, and in fact, it was not full, I was there and watching.

The company reported back to state farm that the carpet was fine, and there was no damage. An adjuster came out. The both claimed to have lifted the carpet to inspect for damage/mold etc. In fact neither did, and the carpet was damaged, very expensive carpet. Additionally, damage to several pieces of furniture, etc. The company refused to pay to replace the carpet, and said they would pay "replacement cost" (which is what our policy states it covers) for the damaged furniture, less depreciation, but ONLY when we had purchased the new furniture, and turned over the old furniture to their company. Eventually after several months we got re-imbursed for only 1 piece of furniture and nothing else. I felt, and it was apparent that ServiceMaster and State Farm were in cohoots together, to minimize the claims and rip-off the insured people.

In fact, we pay over 250 a month in insurance to state farm and their "fuck you" attitude came to a full head recently when I went to the company to Drop our "jet-ski" policy, and add something else.

Insurance for a jet-ski is NOT a requirement, because it had actually been used only 2 times in 2 years (21.00 a month in insurance) and it is now winter, I went in to drop it. We got a bill for 100.00 from the company, and basically they stated that we could not drop the insurance unless we sold it and not be penilized. I'd love to see this insurance rule..."

Todd is obviously a vicitm of the same "thorough investigation" techniques that State Farm tried to pawn off on me.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Today I Googled the phrase "consumer reporter," with the idea that e-mail is a cheap way of getting the news out. Then I Googled "consumer reporter" with "State Farm," figuring that might attract reporters to do a follow up story to one of their previous pieces. All it takes is one media reporter to break a story that gets picked up by the rest of the herd. My first hit was to a consumer reporter in Oakland, California, who did exactly that kind of story. I sent him a note to do a follow up on his own story that ran about a month ago.

I sent a note to the contact at The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights at, too. But I really struck gold at the FBIC: the site of Fight Bad-faith Insurance Companies, at Care to take a guess who rates second overall in their Hall of Shame for non-payment?

That's right, State Farm. And they're in second place from a field of 53 other insurance companies.

FBIC also has tons of links, including state and lawyer contacts. If you care to see the data (compiled as recently as October, 2003), check out which details State Farm's track record as follows:

"State Farm: One Of The 3 Worst U.S. Bad Faith Insurer Records!*   Very Bad Record For The #1 Largest And Most Powerful U.S. Insurer Of Bad Faith Insurance Claim Practices, Non-Payments Of Claims, An Enormous Number Of Complaints And Claimants Lawsuits, Many With Appalling Stories Of Foul Play And Consumers Being Victimized By This Insurer That Claims They Are Like A Good Neighbor !*   View State Farm's Fraud Right Here For Yourself: Numerous, Widespread And Repeated Examples Of State Farm's Bad Faith And Abusive Practices Inflicted Nationwide "Neighborly-like" Upon Consumers, Claimants And Their Own Policyholders From The Following NBC Dateline Televised Expose Viewed In Four Parts (click on one at a time to view each 15 minute segment): Part 1 ,Part 2 ,Part 3 ,Part 4 , Attesting To State Farm's Bad Faith Insurance Claim Practices. When You Are Finished You Can Read About Another Separate And Unrelated Occurrence Of Court Admissions Testimony By A Former State Farm Employee For More Examples Of Some Of This Insurer's Repeated Use Of Bad Faith Insurance Practices. You Absolutely Do Not Want To Be Insured With State Farm ... Join With Others In FBIC America's Consumer "Buy Good Boycott Bad" Faith Insurers Of This Extreme Bad Faith Insurer!   (Member Companies Of Group Include: State Farm County Mutual Insurance of Texas, State Farm Fire & Casualty Insurance, State Farm General Insurance, State Farm Indemnity, State Farm Insurance, State Farm Lloyds, State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance)."

Sounds like I made it up, right? Wrong. This is only the THIRD result I found for State Farm. Which means there are tons of people getting ripped off by these pirates. All it takes is someone to bring everyone together and then it's off to the media we go. FBIC also allows you to submit your data to help others being ripped off by State Farm and other insurance companies.

There are other sites, too, including that has its own State Farm page. It's getting late and I have to drive the kids carpool tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

A few days ago, I decided to send the pirates at State Farm a letter requesting a full copy of my original policy so that I could initiate litigation. Today, I got a response letter by mail from State Farm, informing me that a copy of my policy is being sent to me.

Good. At least I know they respond to faxes.

At 4:15 PM, the Team Manager (that's what they call the guy who supervises the guy who supervises the guy they send out to investigate what they won't cover) calls me on the phone, to tell me that he's been forwarded my e-mail from Mr. Rust. Right. Like Mr. Rust, the CEO really reads this stuff. But I figure he called within 24 hours of the e-mail, so something is working. That's one point for

The Team Manager wastes 45 minutes of my time telling me absolutely nothing new. "Why are you calling me?" I finally ask, "Just to let me know you received my letter?" The Team Manager goes on and on about how "it's much easier for me to pay a claim than not pay it." To which I respond, "Fine. Let's make your life easier. Pay the claim."

He wasn't amused.

I still don't know why he called. All he did was regurgitate the party line, repeating what the guy who supervises the guy they send out to investigate said, after the guy under him had said the same thing. Sometimes I think that every employee at State Farm has his brain wired into the same central server. Nobody does anything but quote chapter and verse of the State Farm manual.

It gets worse:

The Team Manager reads me the leak inspector's report, which says that SOMETIMES, "these events occur through natural wear and tear." Of course, when I point out that the report doesn't mention what happened THIS TIME, the Team manager has nothing to say, other than repeating how State Farm conducted a "thorough investigation in this matter."

"Thorough investigation?" I asked. "If it was so thorough, what caused the break which caused the leak?"
"I don't know," says the Team Manager. To which I replied, "If you don't know, how can you say you've conducted a thorough investigation?"

The Team Manager goes silent again. I thank him for the call and commend him for being a good State Farm soldier. I hear Hitler also had lots of guys who did what they were told without thinking.

In the meantime, the web site has already generated some good response. One person has offered me a list of disgruntled State Farm policy holders to whom I can send out for support. Another offered her story (below). If enough people sign on to the cause, we can generate enough momentum to get some media attention.

What's important here is not one guy's fight against the insurance company. It's about everyone getting screwed by State Farm. Check this out from the website:

"Hi Rob:

My family has also been taken by State Farm. My father and mother have been with State Farm over 13 years. I was added as a driver in their household to the policy about 1 year ago. I called State Farm to make some changes and they did not state that the policy would turn from a non cancellable policy to a cancellable one. When my father got the updated paperwork, he told me wrong changes were made to the policy and when I called State Farm to have them change the policy back to the original one, they refused.

I advised them that I had no authority to make changes to the policy and that I am just a driver in the household. The car I drive is in my dad's name and I am a co-signer on the lease, not vice-versa as I thought. They still refuse and use this as the excuse to make this a cancellable policy.

The policy in under Leonard and Helene (Last name withheld to maintain privacy) and my name is Gina (Last name withheld to maintain privacy).

Please keep me updated and thank you for being the voice and fighting for the "little people"


Gina (Last name withheld to maintain privacy)"

The more people that tell me their nightmare, the stronger the case gets. For everyone. Please send yours to me from the website

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Today I had a little time, so I decided to load up on public services that claim to help out people with their complaints. First stop was the Better Business Bureau, whose online presence is perfectly configured for this kind of thing. I mean, this site was built for consumer complaints. So much so, that you can type in the name of the company and if there's ever been a complaint against them, it will fill out the form for you.

It took about three nano-seconds for it to fill out a complaint against State Farm. Obviously, there had been a lot of people ahead of me. I figured that was a good thing. I filled it out, complete with the knucklehead's personal phone number instead of the main office. My thinking is that if enough big shots call this guy, he'll start to get the message.

Next stop was the California State Attorney General's office. Whaddya know, that site is perfectly configured, too, except that they do have a pre-loaded database of creepy insurance companies. I filled that one out, too, summarizing the whole case and making sure that I included the URL for I got a nice auto-response e-mail from them.

My last stop was, which is really trick, because they not only have a pre-loaded database of creepy insurance companies, they also automatically compose a letter to the CEO of the company and make sure he gets it. I typed in the facts of my case and this is what got sent:

Edward B Rust Jr., CEO



Insurance is supposed to be something dependable, right? Obviously, something's gone wrong. I'm writing with a complaint about the coverage/benefits at State Farm Insurance and the frustration it's causing me. I'm very annoyed by this!

It's a home insurance policy. For the record, my insurance plan or policy number is 71-XN-8215-2. Despite the fact that my policy covers the damage -- and was corroborated by two independent examiners -- State Farm is refusing to cover my claim. The claim is for a break in a shower pan. I am not asking State Farm to cover any damage from water that has leaked from the shower pan. I am claiming that State Farm must cover the actual break in the shower pan, which examiners have found NOT to be the result of seepage or "long standing leakage." Even the water that did leak was confirmed to have not leaked for long. The damage was reported immediately after evidence of a leak came to our attention. See for more details.

If you want my honest opinion, I've been somewhat dissatisfied from the start. Because of this, I'll probably find another insurance carrier when my policy expires. Will I recommend your firm to people I know? No way!

Here's what I would like State Farm Insurance to do about this: Repair the shower pan break and cover the costs of materials and labor associated with the break required to restore the shower to its normal state of function.

I hope to hear from you in a timely manner so that this problem can be resolved quickly and dependably.

Rob Frankel"

PlanetFeedback also has a cool feature that allows you to send copies of the letter to anyone you want, including pre-addressed copies to your elected representatives! So I checked the box and sent copies to Congress: Federal House Brad Sherman (D) Federal House Howard Berman (D) Federal Senate Barbara Boxer (D)

As long as I was at it, I Googled a couple of consumer advocates and sent them copies, too. Guys like David Horowitz and Tim Duffy. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if Ralph Nader has a contact link.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Chances are that if you're reading this, you've already been to If you haven't, you should go there to read up on just how criminal the insurance company is. Have you been ripped off by State Farm? If so, go to the site and tell me your story. Then post your other messages here.

I'm using this site to post my progress in the case for all to see. And just in case you think this doesn't work, let me tell you that last year, a major credit card company tried to rip me off for $3000. Then I took my case to the web. The company not only refunded my entire $3000, but ended up being the defendant in a nation-wide class action law suit.

Yeah, the web works.

The key to the whole thing is gathering popular support. So the more stories I get, the stronger the case. So please visit and then come back here for more updates.

Wow. I can hardly believe this one: Not more than two days after they denied my claim, State Farm sends me a letter asking me to insure my car with them. I couldn't believe it, so I returned their materials to them with this accompanying letter:

"November 17, 2003

Coralee Nickel
State Farm Insurance
17277 Ventura Blvd. #201
Encino, CA 91316

Dear Coralee:

I am consistently amazed State Farm’s inability to service clients, but this is going too far. After rejecting my valid claim, how can you possibly think that I’d buy additional coverage from you?

Why would I want to buy auto insurance from State Farm? So that you CAN’T cover my damages when something happens to me on the road?

I am returning your marketing materials to you (enclosed) so that you can send them on to some other unsuspecting victim.

In the meantime, I will continue my efforts to collect payment for damages via


Rob Frankel"