A $25 million settlement negotiated by the state on behalf of Farmers Insurance policyholders whose earthquake claims were denied or unpaid ranks as a huge victory.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready and their respective staffs deserve credit for that win.
An investigation found Farmers Insurance denied — or failed to pay — about 1,000 claims filed by Oklahomans who purchased policies with earthquake-protection provisions. The insurer denies any wrongdoing and contends all actions related to earthquake claims in Oklahoma were “correct” and carried out “in good faith.”
Farmers Insurance will be required to reopen the claims process and hire an independent administrator to re-evaluate earthquake-related claims subject to the settlement. Any claims approved by the independent administrator will be paid in accordance with the terms of a claimant’s policy.
Hunter described the settlement as “a great win for Oklahomans.” Mulready said the “settlement serves as another example” of his and Hunter’s commitment to protect “all Oklahoma consumers.”
We agree with both and applaud their efforts. Their efforts will provide relief to those policyholders harmed by Farmers’ past business decisions and serve as a shield for other consumers by preventing future bad acts.
Our hope is those state officials tasked with regulating the wells into which the oil and gas industry injects its wastewater — a business practice linked to increased seismic activity — will undertake their duty to protect Oklahomans with the same level of dedication.