Appeals court to rehear insurance race bias case

October 26, 2009
federal appeals court will reconsider its decision to let African-American homeowners sue Farmers Group Inc for racial discrimination based on alleged overcharges on property and casualty insurance policies.
     The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday said it will rehear the class-action case "en banc," which it typically does with 11 judges, and said a May 12 ruling by a three-judge panel should not be cited as precedent.
     Farmers said it is wholly-owned by Zurich Financial Services AG.
     Farmers Group, its lawyers and lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
     In the lawsuit, Houston resident Patrick Ojo accused Farmers of charging minorities higher premiums than Caucasians for homeowners' property and casualty insurance.