A pending lawsuit filed in 2020 includes claims of racial discrimination by seven former agents of State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest property and casualty insurer. A similar lawsuit was filed by an Indian American man just last month, and the New York Times reports that there are dozens more.
Darryl Williams of Chicago filed a claim with State Farm when a pipe burst in his Southside building housing six apartments. While devastated, he knew he could at the very least count on his insurer to clear the damages. In an even more devastating turn of events however, his claim was denied with the claims adjuster telling Williams that he did not believe his retelling of the story.
“We have a lot of fraud in your area,” Williams recalls being told, and like most folks in said area, Mr. Williams is Black. Without assistance from the company, he was eventually forced to sell his building in order to cover the mounting bills.
But Williams was not willing to take this loss lying down. In 2019, he sued State Farm for racial discrimination, although the judge was not convinced there was enough evidence to move forward with the case. Enter Carla Campbell-Jackson, a Black woman that had worked for State Farm for 28 years. That is, until 2016 when she was abruptly fired for what the company alleged as the sharing of confidential information, a claim she denies. She believes her firing came as a last ditch effort to run her out after she’d brought up concerns about the company wrongly accusing Black people of fraud in order to deny their claims, just as they had done to Mr. Williams.
Campbell-Jackson also sued state farm, and then went on to agree to testify on the Behalf of Williams.
“Recent allegations of discrimination do not reflect the State Farm culture,” Roszell Gadson, a State Farm spokesperson reportedly stated via email. “We use our business as a force for good and believe that racism has no place anywhere in society.”
Robert McLaughlin, a lawyer for Campbell-Jackson says he represented over 150 current and former State Farm employees who have brought their own racial discrimination cases against the company.
Gadson said that the insurer denies the accusations, and that State Farm “will vigorously defend ourselves in court.”