My home in Cahaba Heights (Birmingham, AL) was destroyed by Fire in 2005. I was away, caring for my Mom in FL, who was terminally ill, and my young girls. On Feb 24th, 2005 I got a phone call....There had been a fire, and my husband, the girls Dad, had died. We contacted State Farm, our Insurer, and notified them of the tragedy.
Instead of quickly adjusting the loss, by rebuilding our home, paying for another temporary home, and paying for our personal property, AS PROMISED IN OUR POLICY, State Farm weaseled out of rebuilding my home and took actions to make sure I was DESTROYED mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
State Farm employee, Fred Williams, started vicious rumors about me at my business, my husbands business, and to friends and neighbors. The rumors he started with his implications and insensitivity resulted in threats on my life. I became afraid for my safety, and my daughters' safety.
I lived in fear that year, and the next, having nightmares caused by the horrible rumors state Farm caused. I woke up many nights from nightmares that I had killed someone, or that I was being blamed for killing someone.
I later learned that Fred Williams was an ex FBI agent. Maybe that explains why he treated me like a criminal, rather than a good customer who had just suffered a horrific tragedy.
Fred Williams yelled at me on the phone when I called and asked them to honor the policy they sold me. Not only was he not helpful, he was mean and abusive. I called State Farm and complained but was still forced to deal with him. Fred Williams also refused to answer questions on how to make the claim and fill out State Farm's Inventory and Proof of Loss forms.
He was very cunning. He told me in April & August, 2005 (more than once) to NOT fill out a Proof of Loss about rebuilding the house. He said: "Just give us an estimate to rebuild it", which I did. Little did I know that later, State Farm would claim that I never asked them to rebuild the house. At the time, I was naive and trusted State Farm, and did what Fred Williams told me to do. What a huge mistake.
It's obvious in retrospect that he set it up that way intentionally in order for State Farm to save money by NOT rebuilding my house.
I was not able to be present in Birmingham to operate my business, and we suffered financially due to State Farm's failure to pay for another temporary home or "additional living expenses". I lost my business, and ONLY source of income to support myself, and my children as a result of State Farm's actions, and failure to perform as promised.
State Farm never repaired my home. Eventually, the roof fell in due to the extensive fire damage.
My young daughters and I had to live in a condemned house in 2006. There were holes in the walls and floors and animals came in at night. State Farm was aware of that fact, but did NOTHING for us.
Please see the PHOTOS in the slideshow of the condemned house where we lived in 2006, after State Farm failed to HONOR the policy they sold us.
Later, in a phone call, Mr Williams' supervisor, Lloyd Renfrow, privately confessed to me the REAL reason they didn't pay. He whispered into the phone, "WHY hasn't your lawyer sent a final demand letter?" He said that my lawyer wasn't doing enough for me, and that they knew he had a conflict of interest all along. In other words, he was telling me that State Farm was taking advantage of us simply because they saw the opportunity to do so.
It wasn't even my lawyer, it was my husband's Estate's lawyer. I was unrepresented, and told State Farm so, not realizing that it made my daughters and I unprotected lambs for the Predator State Farm to take advantage of. I had asked State Farm if making an insurance claim required a lawyer, and they said no.
I have my phone records. They show over 80 calls to STATE FARM, (that's OVER EIGHTY CALLS TO STATE FARM!!!!), not even including the calls to and from Fred William's cell phone. It should be apparent to anyone that I was frantically trying to get State Farm to DO THEIR JOB, and what they promised in my policy. Do State Farm, Fred Williams, and Lloyd Renfrow REALLY expect anyone to believe that I called "to talk about the weather" over 80 times??? Pathetic.
It's BEEN OVER FOUR YEARS now, and State Farm is STILL lying, and shirking responsibility for their actions. I have been forced to spend thousands of dollars I can't afford traveling to depositions by State Farm, again and again, in which a huge table full of lawyers grilled me for 14 hours, day after day.
State Farm has dragged me over the coals to get rid of me. I'm not going away. I want everyone to know to know what an evil, opportunistic predator State Farm really is.
My policy promised to perform within 60 days. State Farm FAILED US miserably.
State Farm takes in BILLIONS of dollars annually, from TRUSTING customers, but then CHEATS THEIR CUSTOMERS out of their homes and property.
I never would have believed this could happen had this not happened to us. I was naive and trusting, and foolishly believed State Farm's advertising.
We (the consumers) buy Insurance to save us from being totally destroyed by a major loss like this. It's outrageous that State Farm made the experience even WORSE instead of helping. I still have not recovered completely from their actions.
PLEASE DON'T BE STATE FARM'S NEXT VICTIM.
Sincerely, Angela Russell & the Russell Girls