Danny Westneat: Insurer does “right thing” — finally
October 19, 2005
By Danny Westneat
Farmers Insurance has agreed to pay Ethel Adams, the woman who was nearly killed in a road-rage wreck last spring.
Farmers Insurance finally agreed yesterday to pay Ethel Adams, the woman who was nearly killed in a road-rage wreck last spring.
To her credit, Adams, who is in a wheelchair, was gracious and genuinely thrilled on hearing the news. “I’m just glad they’re doing the right thing,” she said.
I’m not going to be so generous. And neither, it seems, are some Farmers employees who are furious their company has turned itself into exhibit A for why people don’t trust the insurance industry.
No doubt it is a happy event that Farmers now says it will honor its policies toward Adams. But I don’t agree Farmers “did the right thing.” More like they were left no choice but to stop doing the wrong thing.
Adams, 60, was hospitalized last March when she got caught in a wreck caused by a crazed man named Michael Testa, who was trying to run his girlfriend’s truck off the road.
Farmers decided the policies covering Adams didn’t apply to anything Testa did because he caused the five-car pileup on purpose. Essentially Farmers said it was not an accident, even for Adams, who was just passing by.
After being threatened with a lawsuit by the state insurance commissioner — as well as national television exposure by both “Good Morning America” and Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” which were planning stories — Farmers wisely backed down yesterday.