Pardon my departure from the food trail. I’m mad. Damned mad. I’ll apologize in advance if my rant offends. If your son or daughter, sister or brother, or loved one works for Farmers, I’m sure they’re good people working an honest job. As a corporation, though, Farmers Insurance knocked me down like a bully. And they know it.
Jan 2014 “Marlboro Man” rear-ended me. At the time of the crash, he stated he was grabbing a pack of cigarettes off of the floor of his pick-up truck, did not see my
big 2007 Honda CR-V in front of him and… BOOM! At least Marlboro Man was nice was about it. He seemed genuinely concerned about the aftermath his stupidity lapse of judgment caused, and I appreciated that. The fact that he turned beet-red and was shaking like a leaf when both myself and the 3rd driver suggested we get police involved, actually made us calm him down. Poor guy.
Sadly, Farmers Insurance wasn’t so nice about it. Truthfully, their agents were downright rude & demeaning to me, the middle car, and almost made me feel like I belonged to a rival gang speaking with them. The fact that I was actually the victim in this equation was of no importance to them. Their primary objective was not my well-being, but rather damage-control. An insatiable need to deny my injury, so they could justify in their corporate minds that their settlement offer was ‘generous’, and that I should fall on my knees for even being offered a settlement at all… a statement one of their agents made during one of our phone calls. That set the tone, now didn’t it?!
From the get-go, Farmers Insurance’s agents adopted the belief that I was somehow partially responsible for this accident. Dana R. actually went as far as to say out loud – over the phone, of course, never in writing – that I had a “…shared liability…” in this crash. When asked what that liability may be, she spared no vocabulary in telling me precisely how she ‘knew’ I could have not suffered a whiplash injury and that it was clear to her I had over-treated myself. Knew?! She coldly & robotically proceeded that I “…should have never gone to the ER…” since my “… so-called injury…” didn’t require it. Why, thank you Dana. With your medical expertise and your creative interpretation of the X-ray of my damaged neck and my nearly 3K in medical bills I submitted with my claim, I’m sure you’re an asset to the Farmers’ group.
Sadly, my story is but a droplet on a hot plate. There are hundreds before me whom have been treated this way by Farmers Insurance, and there are dozens of Internet chat boards and sites dedicated to Farmers’ culture of deliberately low-balling people whom have relatively small claims. I spoke with the California Insurance Commission and several attorneys, and their stories all have one common denominator: nobody really enforces the ‘Bad Faith’ law. Low-balling fraud is rampant because there is no enforcement, and attorneys do not engage with low-impact accidents since these cases typically do not yield enough earnings to justify their efforts and court filing fees. It’s the perfect breeding ground for “legal” corruption. Despite strong ties to shared friendships, not a single attorney wanted to take on my case. The advice I received was to track down the driver’s address and file a case in small claims court. “You’ll win, hands down!”, they said. “It’s like Judge Judy on TV, no biggie!”. And just like that, me & my injured neck got tangled in a cobweb of immorality and greed. I can either struggle and get tangled even deeper with a court case and no legal representation, or I can choose to release and settle for pennies on the dollar of my medical bills.
So what’s a gal to do? Track down Marlboro Man in typical “Bounty Hunter”-style so I can serve him with court papers? Dip into my pocket even deeper so I can pay the court filing fees for a case that should have never even gone to court? It’s all incredibly unfair and immoral, and all because Farmers Insurance knows they get away with this kind of practice over and over again… it’s like a spider lurking in its web to see who has the audacity to intrude.
What hurts the most in this, is that small business farmers are actually close to my heart. They’re the salt of the earth kind of people, hard-working with integrity and morality. It’s a down right travesty that this insurance company uses farmers’ image to market themselves as a wholesome company. There is no morality or integrity to be had with Farmers Insurance, at least not in my dealings with them. If I was a farmer, I’d be angry and ashamed.
None of my family will ever be Farmers Insurance customers. A pact we are committed to every time I stretch my neck and swallow an Advil.