The case cites a study conducted by the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at NYU School of Law, which was conducted over a nine-month period in 2021. Created in partnership with law firm Fairmark Partners, the study was inspired. A similar piece of research by The New York Times in 2020 detailed the difficulties black homeowners have in paying claims to their insurers.
With more than 800 survey participants, the researchers evaluated metrics such as the number of contacts claimants had with State Farm representatives, the time it took to receive payment after filing a claim and the amount of additional paperwork the insurer required. Required before accepting a claim.
“Our data from the survey told us there was a problem here,” said Deborah Archer, director of NYU School of Law’s Center on Race, Inequality and the Law.
The survey showed that black homeowners had to do more paperwork and navigate more interactions with claims adjusters than white customers before State Farm agreed to pay them, Archer told The New York Times in a statement. Black consumers are 20% more likely to have to speak with a State Farm representative on at least three separate occasions before having their claims approved; They are more likely to have to submit additional documents.
The director also explained that because State Farm is America’s largest homeowner’s insurance provider, the study was the focus.
“We take this filing seriously,” State Farm spokeswoman Gina Morse-Fisher said of the lawsuit. “This case does not reflect the values we hold at State Farm. State Farm is committed to a diverse and inclusive environment where all customers and associates are treated with fairness, respect and dignity. We are committed to paying what we owe promptly and honorably.
According to Lex Machina, State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance was the most active insurance defendant During the period 2017-2021, there are less than 2,500 cases against it. It is followed by State Farm’s casualty coverage company, State Fire Fire & Casualty, with 2,332 cases.