Insurance company drops Moore family after tornado claims

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MOORE, Okla. - One of the state's largest insurers is dropping a family in Moore, after it filed two claims for tornado damage.

Richard Perry said he was shocked to open a letter from Farmers Insurance Monday, announcing it would be canceling his policy, effective in April.

"It don't make any sense to me," he told NewsChannel 4, after calling his local agent's office. "She said she would be more than happy to continue coverage on our vehicles but, being as we live in this area right here, it would be too high a risk to cover our home."

The letter reads: "Unfortunately, we are unable to continue coverage, because the number of losses you have experienced exceed our acceptability limits."

The Perrys filed claims on two occasions following tornadoes.

The first came in 2013, when Farmers paid $1,615 for wind damage.

The second came in March of 2015, when Farmers paid $7,746.

Perry said most of that claim was paid out on his truck, which was damaged in the storm.

The rest of the money went toward things like his home's siding - which is still in disrepair months later.

"I didn't think it was a reason at all [for non renewal]," Perry said. "I saw it as a way out. I can't see that $8,500 in the last two years with the storms we've had that's going to break Farmers, so they're scared to do anything with me? That just doesn't make any sense to me."

Buddy Combs of the Oklahoma Insurance Department said most companies won't take the same steps, but they do have the right to do so.

Under state law, an insurance company can't drop a policyholder for filing a single claim.

But, companies can take action if a policyholder files two claims or more.

"It could be that [the company has] seen a lot of claims in that area, and they're trying to diversify the risk that they have and get out of some areas. It could be that they see a homeowner or some area as some larger risk than others," Combs said. "I think there are a lot of factors in play. I don't think it's necessarily just money or just the bottom line because, to be honest with you, a lot of these companies want every policy they can get their hands on."

But, while Combs acknowledges the inconvenience of having to search for a new insurance provider, the silver lining is there are a number of competitors to switch to.

"We have a very robust, competitive market for homeowners insurance in Oklahoma," he said. "So, they may have been canceled on one of their policies, but I know there's hundreds waiting to just snatch that business up."

And Combs says the department is willing to help. If your policy is not renewed, you can call 1-800-522-0071 for assistance.

NewsChannel 4 contacted Farmers Insurance for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, spokesperson Carrie Bonney says: "Insurers are continuously assessing risk and as part of that process we regularly review individual policies. Occasionally, as part of the review process, we find certain exposures who's (sic) loss history results in a decision to non renew a policy."

But, Perry is already preparing to switch his policy - even for his auto insurance, which Farmers told him he can keep.

"I'm done with Farmers," he said. "I will have nothing to do with them. I don't even want their mail coming to my house. I have to get my quotes, get a new insurance company, start all over with a company I'm not familiar with. It's frustrating."

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