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Posted: 3/24/2006 7:35:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 7:38:18 AM EDT by Bama-Shooter]
You guys getting your panties all in a wad of WM making a business decision and totally missed this jewel. A real assault on the Second Amendment.

State Farm Cancels Policy of Gun Owner Who Has Private Shooting Range
Hunter? Shooter? Who Is Your Good Neighbor?

from Grass Roots South Carolina
http://www.SCFirearms.org

"Its about guns. State Farm just doesn't want me shooting. Ever."

Gary Atkinson is a good neighbor, even though his nearest neighbor lives hundreds of feet away. He makes his home in rural Chapin, South Carolina on thirteen hilly, mostly wooded acres, along with his wife Lisa, sons Tom and Yates, two horses, three yard dogs, and "too many cats to count" as Gary puts it. "Somebody's got to take in the homeless animals" he explains. "If not, well…." His voice trails off. No need to describe the fate of stray animals in a sparsely populated area.

Gary's job in heavy equipment sales brought him from Illinois to South Carolina in 1985. He promptly fell in love with the area, and bought acreage 25 miles and a culture away from the state capitol in Columbia. Gary and Lisa bought a second, adjoining parcel in 1988, and began building their dream house in 1990. "We moved into the house in 1992" Gary says with a laugh, "but we never stopped building. A barn. Outbuildings. A pool. A pond. There's always something going on at our place". When the time came for Gary to change jobs, he stayed in South Carolina.

Gary admits his rural homestead isn't as rural as it once was. Fifteen families now live along his dead-end country road, and more are discovering this long-forgotten corner of Richland County every year. But it remains a close-knit community, where everybody knows everybody else. The kids play together, the adults are good friends, and the entire neighborhood gets together several times a year for a massive "block party".

But being a good neighbor involves more than holding block parties and swimming in each other's pools. It involves being there when people have a need. For example, Lisa prepares meals for shut-ins, and Gary uses his tractor and chain saw to help around the neighborhood. Sometimes he cuts grass for people who can't do it themselves. When Mike, their neighbor across the street, broke his back in a fall from a deer stand, Gary built special rails on Mike's front steps so that Mike could get in and out of his house. And when there was a loud explosion in the woods behind another neighbor's house, she immediately called Gary and asked him to investigate. Gary found a tree had fallen across a power line in a right-of-way, and started a fire. He fought the fire himself while others summoned help. By the time the trained firefighters arrived, Gary had brought the blaze under control. The firefighters' main job was to put out the still-burning utility pole. That's the kind of "good neighbor" Gary is.

For 34 years Gary bought his insurance from State Farm, a company that claims its a good neighbor. His father got him started with car insurance when Gary was 16. Gary later bought homeowners insurance from State Farm, and eventually added an umbrella policy to protect the assets he had accumulated. Gary was happy with State Farm. And State Farm should have been happy with Gary, because he has an excellent claims record. True, his car was broken into several years ago. Hurricane Hugo blew down a tree. And a pipe burst, causing damage in his basement. Not bad, for 34 years of State Farm coverage.

Gary's rosy relationship with State Farm came to a screeching halt a few months ago, when he casually mentioned to the local State Farm office that he had been shooting in a ravine back in the woods behind his house. The local agent, who he regarded as a friend, didn't like that, and questioned Gary closely. Shooting? With guns? He answered all of her questions, and even took her through the woods to the ravine so she could see the area for herself. She wasn't happy. Neither was the home office. State Farm promptly cancelled Gary's coverage for what the company called "the operation of the shooting range on your property".

Hunting and recreational shooting are a way of life in rural South Carolina, and in much of the rest of America. Gary has enjoyed these activities since he was seven years old, when his father started him with a .22 bolt action rifle. (It's a tradition Gary hopes to pass on to his own sons.) Still, Gary tried to appease State Farm by offering to limit his shooting. Would they ever let him shoot on his own property, or did the company insist on a total ban? "Maybe once in a Blue Moon" the agent told him. "What about hunters going through my woods?" Gary asked. "It's just too dangerous" she replied.

Gary next offered to protect State Farm from any liability for his shooting. The ravine was on a parcel of land separate from the house, so what if they just insured the parcel with the house? No deal. Gary went out and bought a million dollar liability policy from an NRA-endorsed underwriter to cover his shooting activities. Would State Farm be willing to exclude all shooting activities from his homeowners policy? Still no deal.

So, what did State Farm want from him? Gary asked State Farm's agent to point out the fine print in his policy, or to show him something in writing, so that he could keep the company happy. She conceded there was no fine print, nothing in the policy, and nothing in writing anywhere. But the company regards shooting activities as a "factor of increased risk" she told him, and as reason for terminating his coverage. The company would never be happy.

State Farm's agent also tried to stop Gary from shooting by claiming all of the other national insurance companies had similar "no shooting" rules, so Gary shouldn't bother to shop around. But Gary did shop around, and he quickly learned that many companies were more than happy to insure safe shooters.

Gary now has all the insurance coverage he wants. From companies that are happy to have his business. At prices lower than he was paying State Farm.

Gary still shoots in the ravine behind his house. And he's still a good neighbor. But he's really, really disappointed with State Farm. "This never was about risk" Gary concludes. "Its about guns. State Farm just doesn't want me shooting. Ever."

ACTION - GrassRoots South Carolina, http://www.scfirearms.org urges all policy holders with State Farm to contact State Farm and voice complaints regarding their decision to cancel policies based on discrimination of lawful use of firearms. Voice your protests and concerns directly to them or else find yourself facing even stricter policy guidelines in the future - like possible non-coverage if firearms are in the home. To contact State Farm call (309) 766-2311. Members of the media may call (309) 766-7550.

Further contact information is: Mr. Edward Rust, President State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. One State Farm Plaza Bloomington IL 61710-0001 309-766-7554

Gary's Former State Farm Agent is: Rene'e Wilder 120 Columbia Avenue Chapin, SC 29036-9420 Phone: (803) 345-3135 Fax: (803) 345-6700 E-Mail renee.wilder.gw4a@statefarm.com

Online, you may contact State Farm at: https://sfinsguides.statefarm.com/insur/Forms/Comments.asp

Gary may be contacted for further information including the termination letter from State Farm (with reason sited) as well as a detailed events write-up describing how State Farm handled this case start to finish. There's no hidden agenda here. Gary's letter of cancellation is available for concerned policyholders who believe they may also be at risk for non-coverage by State Farm. Gary's range was a private range, not commercial, and not open to the public. Gary was in compliance with all local, county, and state laws regarding shooting ranges and the use of his property. Contact Gary at: gatkinson@mdccolumbia.com

If you are living in South Carolina and not yet involved with Grass Roots South Carolina, what the heck are you waiting for? http://www.SCFirearms.org


Link


Now here's something to get your feathers ruffled over.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:44:30 AM EDT
I didn't see it mention who actually insured him, I wonder why?
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:46:03 AM EDT
Isn't this an old story?
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:46:52 AM EDT
Bunch of gun-grabbing commies.

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:50:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Isn't this an old story?



I have no idea. This story was right beneath the story about WM making a business decision to quit selling firearms. Everyone seemed to miss the more important story.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:51:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
I didn't see it mention who actually insured him, I wonder why?



Uhh, State Farm.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:54:12 AM EDT
Insurance is like gambling, in Vegas. The house will pay out if it has to, but wants to keep the odds in it's favor.

Any thing that increases risk the insurance companies want to know about

Wood stove
Fireplace
Dogs
Trampoline
B­MX dirt track
Skateboardin course
Pool

Etc. etc.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:56:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
Insurance is like gambling, in Vegas. The house will pay out if it has to, but wants to keep the odds in it's favor.

Any thing that increases risk the insurance companies want to know about

Wood stove
Fireplace
Dogs
Trampoline
BMX dirt track
Skateboardin course
Pool

Etc. etc.



NO SHIT! my parents have been threatened with outright cancelation just for owning 2 german shepherds. a nastygram from our lawyer got them to back off a LITTLE, but they still doubled the rates.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:56:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 7:57:58 AM EDT by gardenWeasel]

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
I didn't see it mention who actually insured him, I wonder why?



Uhh, State Farm.


The companies described as being, "happy to have his business. At prices lower than he was paying State Farm," are not named.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:06:24 AM EDT
He owns guns? He shoots them? On his property? What gives him the right? The Constitution!
Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
He should take them to court for discrimination and violating his Constitutional rights!
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:13:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 8:13:59 AM EDT by BobP]
I think this is an old story, at least it's very similar to one from a few years ago. In the earlier story I saw a video tape of his range. It was pretty nice, better than some of the paid ranges I've been to. The problem the insurance company had with the range was the improvements. He had a nice setup with a permanent shooting bench and target stands. The insurance company claimed they wouldn't have had a problem with a less formal setup, but he had crossed the line into having a shooting range instead of a plinking area. They considered it sort of an attractive nuisance like a swimming pool, but worse. So he supposedly would have been OK with portable bench and target stands, but once he crossed the insurance companies line, he couldn't go back.

Strange reasoning, and dumb that they wouldn't work with him on the issue.

Edit due to really bad typing skillz

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:13:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By markmars:
He owns guns? He shoots them? On his property? What gives him the right? The Constitution!
Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
He should take them to court for discrimination and violating his Constitutional rights!



That would be a waste of his money. The Constitution only protects him from a government violating his rights, not a private business. [sarcasm] Not that our Government would ever do a thing like that.[/sarcasm]


Vulcan94
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:19:46 AM EDT
I can't find anything in the Second Amendment about right to insurance, what am I missing?
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:20:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 8:22:58 AM EDT by myitinaw]
I called my State Farm office and discussed the topic with my agent.
Without hesitation they defended themselves and their policy,
I didnt hesitate to cancel them. We have a multi-million dollar
policy with them. Or shall I say: HAD.

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:23:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:27:42 AM EDT
I have never had anything good to say about state farm. One of the worst out there in my book and has been so for many years.

Thay had the gall years ago to tell me insurance would be 2K on a 76 olds because I had not had a vehicle for a few years and no policy. Told the stupid agent that that was because I had been IN THE SERVICE!!!! I logged scads of miles in vehicles in that time to include the Autobahn but it was as a MP. They are pricks on payoffs also from what I have been told by friends.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:28:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By myitinaw:
I called my State Farm office and discussed the topic with my agent.
Without hesitation they defended themselves and their policy,
I didnt hesitate to cancel them. We have a multi-million dollar
policy with them. Or shall I say: HAD.




Good for you! I cancelled them years ago, and alstate has the same BS practices.
I have SAFECO and they could give a shit about it or my reloading, although they do ask what type of dog I have.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:42:44 AM EDT
I am a contractor. I have done insurance repairs for just about every insurance company doing business in Iowa.

State Farm is the worst at paying a claim. I have had several arguments with S.F. adjusters regarding what is "fair" to their insureds and how repairs should be performed.

They suck.

Now, if you want to carry insurance with someone who might actually pay a claim as you would like them too, talk to Allied. They are very reasonable regarding taking care of their customers.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:47:07 AM EDT
dude thats f'ed up
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:49:15 AM EDT
State Farm has a right to refuse who they sell their product to, and the consumer has a choice of who they purchase a product from. It's called a free economy.

Do I agree with State Farm's Anti-Gun stance? Fuck no. Is it "A real assault on the Second Amendment."? No.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:51:04 AM EDT
Not really going to get too bent out of shape over this.

State Farm, just like any other insurance company, can choose who to do business with. If the company chooses not to insure someone because they shoot on their property that is the company's prerogative. If they choose to charge higher rates based on someone's choice of automobile it is their prerogative.

Gary can also choose who to do business with.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:02:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 9:03:59 AM EDT by bullyforyou]

while this may not be a direct assault on the 2nd, most folks in most areas are *required* to have home-owners insurance. if you can't get insured, and therefore can't own a house, they're definately making it hard on folks who own guns.

imagine if insurance companies stopped insuring cars of CCWers because it posed some sort of imagined increased liability? .gov won't let you register your vehicle, much less drive it, without having insurance. is that an attack on the 2nd? no, but it's an attack on gun owners.


Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:19:39 AM EDT
This was relevent three or four years ago when it happened.

And Satan Farm still does not give a shit what we think.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:26:52 AM EDT
This made me wonder so I dug up my policy to double-check. All is well.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:58:08 AM EDT
If SF does not want his money or are to risk averse to write a risk that contains a shooting range that is fine by me. There is always a market out there for the risk. No "violation" of his rights here as the constitution does not guarantee his right ot have a SF policy (or for that matter any policy from any carrier). I think SF did him a favor in the long run. He'll pay less with another carrier and THAT carrier will likely not try to deny converage AFTER the claim is made. As it was, they (SF) was taking his premium and if something had gone wrong at the informal range, they would have squirmed like hell to deny coverage. He is much better off now.

I deal in insurance all day (Attorney for a major reinsurance co.) and policy forms covering various risks are always changing. Here in KS our Supreme court has ruled that firearms are "inherantly dangerous instrumentalities" like dynamite or nerve gas. Most HO policies have an exclusion for liability stemming from the use, possession or ownership of such an "instrument". At some point an enterprising claims guy will deny a nasty claim related to gun ownership based on that language. Just give it time.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 10:11:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR-10:
I am a contractor. I have done insurance repairs for just about every insurance company doing business in Iowa.

State Farm is the worst at paying a claim. I have had several arguments with S.F. adjusters regarding what is "fair" to their insureds and how repairs should be performed.

They suck.

Now, if you want to carry insurance with someone who might actually pay a claim as you would like them too, talk to Allied. They are very reasonable regarding taking care of their customers.

Exactly S.F. blows! So really this guy is much better off. Oh by the way I hope you suckers out there with Snake Farm as your insurance never have to file a claim. Good Luck. They suck when you're the insured and really suck when you're the claimant!
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