Insurance Industry Reacts to Farmers' Exit - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/26/02-East Texas

Insurance Industry Reacts to Farmers' Exit

   Farmers Insurance is the second largest carrier of homeowners insurance in Texas. But on October 31st, the company will stop writing homeowners policies in Texas. And in November, they will no longer renew expired policies.

   In the insurance industry and state government, a debate is ensuing on who's responsible.Some industry professionals believe Farmers was forced to leave the Texas homeowners' market, because they could no longer cover the growing cost of mold and water damage. They say those two types of claims have caused insurance premiums to skyrocket and carriers to stop coverage.

   During a press conference Wednesday, Governor Rick Perry said the company has failed to remedy problems with illegal charging practices. But insurance professionals believe the blame can go around.

   "You could ask the same question of the governor and insurance commissioner," said John Gentry, an agent with American National Insurance Co. in Tyler. "They had an opportunity to fix this problem two years ago with the mold. And they chose not to, and it has led to this."

   Even Farmers' competitors, Tyler agents Shaira Lynch and John Gentry understand why the company left. Farmers insurance says it lost more than one billion dollars in homeowner coverage during that period.

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