I believe any auto insurance company who claims to be driven by “ethical” considerations would not do what Farm Bureau has done in the George Veness wheelchair case, such as:
- Ignoring and exposing its own insured customer (an off-duty policeman) who drove his SUV into Mr. Veness, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2004 work accident, while Mr. Veness was using his motorized wheelchair to cross the street. Under Michigan law, it’s a misdemeanor if a “vehicle operator who approaches a person using a wheelchair … at a crosswalk or any other pedestrian crossing” fails to “take necessary precautions to avoid accident or injury to the person using the wheelchair …” (MCL 257.612(4))
- Pursuing a frivolous legal argument that demands people in wheelchairs have auto insurance – even though you already know such insurance doesn’t even exist.
- Pursue this legal argument even though the logical consequences of it would be to instantly transform all of the elderly, disabled and injured motorized-wheelchair users into a giant class of “uninsured” drivers.
- This exposes them to such harsh legal consequences as: Barring them from receiving any legal compensation for pain and suffering and for Michigan No Fault benefits if they’re ever struck and injured by a car; being sued and even being held personally liable for the medical expenses, lost wages and vehicle-damage-repair costs of the at-fault driver who struck them; and, possible jail time and fines.
- Denying compensation to Mr. Veness as a consequence for not having No Fault auto insurance coverage for his motorized wheelchair – again as I stated above, even though the insurance coverage for wheelchairs and scooters doesn’t exist and is not available.
For more, take a look at our blog post, “State Farm denies No Fault benefits to paralyzed man who didn’t insure his wheelchair – Even though the coverage doesn’t even exist.”
Farm Bureau’s Consumer complaints and ‘ethical’ considerations
How ethical is Farm Bureau? Well, one rough measure that we can use is the number of consumer complaints filed with the Michigan Department of Financial and Insurance Services (DIFS). Complaints against Farm Bureau have jumped dramatically recently, which is of course surprising that there would be so many complaints against such an insurance company that was so concerned with acting “ethically” toward its own customers.
Between 2012 and 2013, Farm Bureau’s “Mutual” and “General” insurance company operations in Michigan saw the following significant increases in consumer complaints:
- Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Michigan, 300% increase in consumer complaints
- Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan, 93% increase in consumer complaints
(See “Automobile” in the “Insurance Company Complaint Ratios” section of DIFS’s “Complaint Stats and Ratios” website page.)
Hmmm. Proof is in the pudding, or so they say.
It seems Farm Bureau is cloaking itself in the flag of “ethics” even as the insurer seems more hell-bent than ever on acting just the opposite.
For more information about Farm Bureau’s self-proclaimed “ethics” toward auto accident victims and Mr. Veness, take a look at my other two blogs from this series: