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Policyholders to Picket State Farm Over Claims

September 20, 1987|DOUG BROWN | Times Staff Writer

Homeowners from Los Angeles and Orange counties say they will picket the State Farm Insurance Co. regional office in Costa Mesa this week to protest the insurance firm's refusal to pay claims of as much as $100,000 for damages resulting from deteriorating foundation slabs.

"We hope that State Farm will quit giving all of us the runaround and reconsider their position not to pay claims, or even talk with policyholders," said Fran Goodsell, a homeowner who is helping organize the Wednesday protest. "State Farm has left literally thousands of homeowners in La Palma, Cypress, Lakewood, Long Beach and Cerritos out on a limb."

Roger Tompkins, State Farm regional vice president, said: "Obviously customers can come and talk to us about their concerns. And obviously they can demonstrate if they want to because the streets are public property. We're just sorry that they feel the way they do."

Foundations of the affected homes in southeast Los Angeles County and north Orange County are crumbling because the soil's unusually high sulfate content is destroying the concrete slabs.

Other insurance companies have agreed to pay repair bills ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, Goodsell said, but State Farm has refused to do so.

State Farm's Tomkins denied Goodsell's allegation that his company is the only one to refuse to pay these claims. Tomkins said: "We and our principal competitors have the same concerns: The problem with these policies is that they exclude land movement and other kinds of losses that customers think should be covered irrespective of the language of the policy."

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