An appeals court has ruled that State Farm can't block the release of information about where it sells insurance in California, a decision hailed by open-records advocates and critics who have accused the giant insurer of redlining.
The state Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that California insurance regulators acted appropriately two years ago in giving the State Farm data to consumer advocates who then made the information public.
The activists said the ZIP Code-based data, which detailed the placement of State Farm agents around the state, proved that the insurer failed to adequately serve poor and minority communities--a contention State Farm denies.
Consumer advocates said access to the records could help communities target insurers engaged in redlining, the illegal practice of refusing to sell insurance in low-income or ethnic communities.
State Farm said it has not yet decided whether to appeal.