State Farm Sues Texas Department of Insurance Over Web Postings
State Farm Insurance has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Insurance after the state agency took the unprecedented move of publicizing on its Web site recent rate hikes by the company.
Texas' largest insurer is seeking to protect from disclosure certain information that State Farm said could benefit its rivals in the insurance industry.
Department spokesman Jerry Hagins says the agency's position is that all documents associated with a rate filing are public information.
State Farm has filed twice in the past year for homeowners rate increases in Texas. Posted on the agency's were two proposals filed over the last eight months that increase homeowner premiums an average of 13 percent.
Hagins tells The Dallas Morning News that the decision to post was partly the result of increases filed so close together.
The company has been embroiled for years in disputes over its homeowners rates in Texas. In November 2009, TDI ordered State Farm Lloyd's (SFL) to refund a total of $310 million to policyholders after finding that the insurer had overcharged customers beginning in 2003.
State Farm subsequently appealed the order, which halted repayments until the courts resolve the case.
The company recently filed for average 9.9 percent rate increase request for homeowners coverage in Louisiana, where it has a little more than 300,000 policyholders.
In February, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon rejected the company's request for an average 19.1 percent rate hike. Donelon said that increase would be unreasonable.