Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company has agreed to pay $44 million to settle allegations under the False Claims Act that it knowingly issued insurance policies that were ineligible under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) federal crop insurance program and falsified documents, the Justice Department announced today. Fireman’s Fund, an Allianz SE subsidiary headquartered in Novato, California, provides personal and commercial property insurance throughout the United States.
“Federal crop insurance provides vital support for farmers suffering crop losses due to natural disasters,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue aggressively to pursue those who abuse this important program.”
Between 1999 and 2002, Fireman’s Fund operated a crop insurance business and participated in the federal crop insurance program. Under the program, Fireman’s Fund sold and serviced crop insurance policies that were reinsured by the USDA for a portion of the risks.
The United States alleged that between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2002, Fireman’s Fund knowingly issued federally reinsured crop insurance policies that were ineligible for federal reinsurance. Specifically, Fireman’s Fund allegedly backdated policies, forged farmers’ signatures, accepted late and altered documents, whited-out dates and signatures, and signed documents after relevant deadlines. The policies were issued by Fireman’s Fund offices in Modesto, California; Lambert, Mississippi; Fargo, North Dakota; Lubbock, Texas; Prosser, Washington; and Overland Park, Kansas.
“Today's announcement shows how working alongside our partners in law enforcement, we will ensure the integrity of the crop insurance program for American taxpayers and producers alike,” said Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Willis of the USDA.
The settlement resulted from a coordinated investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina and the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Office of General Counsel, and Risk Management Agency, including its Special Investigations Branch. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.