State Farm class certification hearing set in Kardis' court

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 21, 2005, 9:28am

Madison County Circuit Judge Philip Kardis will hold a class certification hearing on a case that was filed in June 2002 against State Farm Insurance on June 27 at 9:30 a.m. in his Granite City courtroom.

Cynthia Hoffman, who is represented by Stephen Tillery of Korein Tillery in St. Louis, alleges that State Farm refused to issue or renew insurance policies solely on the basis of a credit report.

She claims that refusal violates the Illinois Insurance Code.

Since October 2002 the Illinois Insurance Code has prohibited insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew an insurance policy based solely on a credit report.

Hoffman, a State Farm policy holder from August 1997 until January 2002, renewed her lapsed policy on March 2002, paying a six-month premium of $528.76. State Farm had canceled the policy, stating coverage was denied “based upon an insurance underwriting score developed from credit and automobile insurance claim information.”

She claims the cancellation forced her to pay $1,722 for a substitute policy from another insurance carrier.

The class action seeks damages for the excessive premium payments the class was required to pay based on State Farm’s alleged violation of the insurance code plus all attorney fees and court costs, plus interest.

According to the suit, all Illinois residents who have been denied issuance or renewal of an insurance policy solely on the basis of a credit report since October 2001 are eligible to join the class.

State Farm is represented by the Belleville law firm of Donovan, Rose, Nester & Joley.

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