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Farmers files insurance civil action against general contractors and several homeowners in Cook county circuit court

CHICAGO, IL – July 13, 2010—Following an in-depth investigation, Illinois Farmers Insurance Company filed a five-count complaint against two Chicago area contractors (ACME Home General Contractors, Inc., and Evergreen Home Restoration, Inc.), and against several individuals alleging insurance fraud and conspiracy.  In all, Farmers seeks damages in excess of $650,000.00.

In late 2008, Farmers initiated an investigation after noticing a pattern of fraudulent hail claims. In the civil complaint, Farmers alleges that the named defendants were causing hail-like damage to insured homes and then filing false insurance claims. 

“Farmers is committed to fight fraud, no matter where it occurs and no matter what form it takes,” says Doug Ashbridge, Director of Special Investigations for Farmers. “Farmers continues to cooperate with law enforcement on these and other matters around the country, working to deter anyone from attempting to defraud Farmers and its policyholders.  We are committed to stamp out fraud.  We will assist law enforcement on criminal matters and file our own civil actions to deter anyone who submits fraudulent insurance claims.  It is our commitment to our policyholders to take fraud out of their premium dollars.”

Insurance fraud costs Americans at least $80 billion a year, or nearly $950 for each family according to the Coalition against Insurance Fraud, a national insurance trade association.  “Fraud is a major contributor to the rise in insurance premiums and Farmers is working hard to detect and deter fraud” said, Larry Johnson, Farmers Special Investigation Unit.  "We're appealing to individuals' sense of right and wrong in an effort to help us combat insurance fraud and to save money for us all," Johnson said. "In addition, we invite other insurers to join us and help tackle this ongoing problem."

Farmers is represented by Rick Hammond, a well-known Chicago lawyer who represents a number of insurers on insurance fraud related cases.  Hammond states that “the down-turn in the economy has caused a significant rise in insurance fraud activity, and we are working harder than ever to stay ahead of the curve.” 

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Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be.  Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Financial Services Group.  The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information about Farmers, visit our Web site at www.farmers.com or www.Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.

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