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Old 08-25-2006, 11:41 AM   #1
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Bravo to these two WhistleBlowers on State Farm

Exclusive: Whistleblowers Say State Farm Shredded Documents to Avoid Paying Katrina Victims, Allegations of Massive Fraud
August 25, 2006 11:53 AM

Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee Report:

State Farm Insurance supervisors systematically demanded that Hurricane Katrina damage reports be buried or replaced or changed so that the company would not have to pay policyholders' claims in Mississippi, two State Farm insiders tell ABC News.

Kerri and Cori Rigsby, independent adjusters who had worked for State Farm exclusively for eight years, say they have turned over thousands of internal company documents and their own detailed statement to the FBI and Mississippi state investigators.

In an exclusive interview with ABC news, to be broadcast on 20/20 -- Watch 20/20 tonight at 10 --and World News, the Rigsby sisters say they saw "widespread" fraud at the State Farm offices in Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss.

"Katrina was devastating, but so was State Farm," says Cori Rigsby.

At one point, they say State Farm brought in a special shredding truck they believe was used to destroy key documents. State Farm says shredding is standard to protect policyholders' privacy.

The sisters say they saw supervisors go to great lengths to pressure outside engineers to prepare reports concluding that damage was caused by water, not covered under State Farm policies, rather than by wind.

They say reports that concluded that damage was caused by wind, for which State Farm would have to pay, were hidden in a special file and new reports were ordered.

Cori Rigsby says she recalls a senior coordinator ordering that an engineering company be told to alter the findings in its report so that State Farm would not have to pay. "Tell them if they don't change their report, we're not paying their invoice," she remembers the supervisor saying.

A lawyer for State Farm, Wayne Drinkwater, told ABC News he was unfamiliar with the Rigsby sisters but denied State Farm cheated policyholders or pressured outside engineers to reach particular conclusions in their damage reports.

"We, of course, have not been cheating," Drinkwater said.

The allegations, if proven, would support the suspicions of thousands of homeowners along the Mississippi Gulf Coast who have been unable to collect enough insurance money to rebuild their homes.

Many have filed lawsuits against State Farm and other insurance companies alleging the companies of wrongly denying or low-balling their claims. The Rigsby sisters' allegations are now a key part of suits filed against State Farm by well-known Mississippi lawyer Dickie Scruggs, famous for taking on the tobacco companies.

See Photos of Katrina, One Year Later - the

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Old 08-25-2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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Amen. These women should be commended for what they're doing.

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Old 08-25-2006, 02:31 PM   #3
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If State Farm really did that, it's beyond sickening. People sink all kinds of money into insurance, and when it comes time to get good use out of what they so dilligently paid for, the company pulls this crap. Boooo Hiss!
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Old 08-25-2006, 04:30 PM   #4
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State Farm does all sorts of cutesy things like supporting figure skating championships to make themselves look good. I don't have a high opinion of insurance companies, generally speaking. I opposed a "tort reform" bill in Alabama because it was a give away to the insurance companies, and I do support real tort reform.
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Old 08-26-2006, 04:56 PM   #5
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State Farm Insurance supervisors systematically demanded that Hurricane Katrina damage reports be buried or replaced or changed so that the company would not have to pay policyholders' claims in Mississippi a good neighbor?

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Old 08-26-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
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I don't want to stand up in support of State Farm, but I don't want to see them burned at the stake for the sins of all the companies who had policies in force in the AL/LA/MS areas and are trying to weasel their way out of paying claims.

I recall reading a news article at least 7 months ago that mentioned the frustration of homeowners trying to collect on their insurance policies for homes anhilated by the winds of Katrina, only to have their claims completely denied because the insurance company had determined the home was destroyed by flood - which is conveniently an excluded peril on ALL homeowner policies. The poor homeowners were left in the position of trying to prove wind destroyed their home BEFORE flood washed away the remains and left them with only a foundation.

The problem is, insurance companies are in business to make money - lots of money. If they paid out these claims, they'd lose lots of money; they simply choose to deny the claims and viola, problem solved! Even if they have some clients who obtain lawyers & fight the decision, it wouldn't be many & most of those would give up years before a settlement was ever reached. And because the insurance carriers have strong lobbyists in DC, they're allowed to get away with it.

Is it any wonder that Biloxi, Gulfport, New Orleans, et al. still look like war zones....?
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Old 08-26-2006, 07:39 PM   #7
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there is clearly a librul agenda in this thread, though i can't put my finger on it yet. financeguy?


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