Monday, July 30, 2007
To: Paul N. Hopkins
Chief Executive Officer
Farmers Group, Inc.
Dear Mr. Hopkins:
First let me say that we are not presently customers of Farmers Insurance.
And if this is the irresponsible way your marketing department works, we never will be again.
It seems Farmers Insurance started a new marketing campaign last week.
Today (Monday) we received two communications from agents with your company.
The first one was somewhat annoying, it was a letter coming from an agent in Glendale, California and contained a great deal of information about our home - address, square footage and year it was built. It was a solicitation to buy insurance from Farmers. It contained a list of potential coverages, showing the value of dwelling, structures, landscaping and so forth.
It was annoying for two reasons:
1) We are not happy your agents are pulling this information about us without our permission. It feels like a personal violation.
2) It's yet another thing with excessive personal information thatwe must take the time to shred, instead of simply throw out. We are not thrilled, but...a sad reflection on the current state ofmarketing, it's something we're used to seeing.
However, the second piece we received in the same mailbox was inexcusable.
It was from XXXX XXXX Agency
Woodland Hills, California
(Note: I will not violate his privacy)
It contained all that same information - on a postcard.
With our home address (the address of the property) on the face of the card and on the back, on top of all that information with the the value of dwelling, structures, landscaping and so forth.
How DARE your agent or Farmers or anyone put this kind of information out into the public view in an era when identity theft is rampant.
Is it really necessary to take this to Congress to increase already asphyxiating Privacy Laws? Isn't there room for common sense and common decency in your marketing department, without legislation?
It almost makes us feel as if Farmers is not in the protection industry, but the protection racket.
Remove us from ALL your solicitation lists at once.
And stop this practice of making anyone's private information public. If you must engage in these marketing practices, at least have the decency to establish a policy of keeping the information inside envelopes, like the first agent did.
Frankly, it does not make the agency look well-informed. It makes the sender look disconcertingly intrusive.
Looking forward to your reply. Please note, this letter is published in the Tax Insider tonight.
Hopefully, by this Friday's issue of Ask TaxMama, I will be able to add your reply that this is not Farmers' policy and will not be happening again.
Eva Rosenberg, EA
Monday, March 19, 2007
Stop the SubPrime Bleeding!
SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW
The Lenders are the Nail that will lose us the Kingdom.
Have you seen this week's stock market roller-coaster?
Prices have plummeted, then risen somewhat. And why?
Because of the investors' concern over the impending collapse of the mortgage loan industry.
The problem is big. And it's going to affect all those people who
bought homes they could just barely afford, by paying negatively
amortizing payments on an initially low rate mortgage.
As the rate goes up, they won't be able to keep making the minimum
payments any longer. The lender will foreclose. The homeowner loses.
The former homeowners will have a major blot on their credit and will have difficulty finding new housing. They may eventually become homeless. The welfare system loses.
Due to stress, and lack of a normal place to live, and inability to concentrate, they will lose their jobs. The employer loses.
Their kids will become angry and hostile and do poorly in school and end up on the streets with gangs as their support system. The penal system loses.
The house will go on the block and sell for less than the mortgage value. The lender loses.
The lender's portfolio of loans will replete with bad loans. The lender's stock price will plummet. The investor loses.
Heck, the companies who've built their portfolios on the sales or purchases of these subprime loans will go bankrupt. The whole stock market loses.
The foreclosed sales will end up in the real estate comps database and pull down the values of other homes in the area. The real estate market loses.
I could go on and on. There are only more bad consequences to this whole chain of events.
Does this remind you of the old rhyme - For Want of a Nail?
For want of a nail
There's only ONE way to stop this cycle and turn this into a win-win situation for everyone.
That's for the lenders to be proactive, right now, and re-negotiate the interest rates and monthly payments on each loan that's presently in trouble.
Rather than negative amortization, how about an equity loan. Reduce the interest rate and payment in exchange for a share of the appreciation when the home is sold or the note comes due in 20 or 30 years?
- The homeowner won't lose the home.
- The lender doesn't lose the loan portfolio.
- Below-value homes won't flood the market.
- The kingdom is not lost.
But that's just one TaxMama's opinion.
I CHALLENGE THE LENDING COMMUNITY TO STEP AND BE RESPONSIBLE.
STOP FORCING PEOPLE INTO FORECLOSURE.
YOU CAUSED THE PROBLEM BY EAGERLY PUSHING THE ARTIFICIALLY LOW RATE VARIABLE LOANS AND NEGATIVELY AMORTIZING LOANS ON PEOPLE WHO COULDN'T AFFORD THEM.
NOW, FIX THE PROBLEM. PROVIDE THEM WITH LOANS THEY CAN PAY - AND SAVE THE ECONOMY.
Did you hear Hilary's Clinton's speech last week, suggesting the government step in and bail out the mortgage industry? She talked about a Consumer Rescue Fund.
Does that get you as angry as it got me?
The mortgage industry made a fortune pushing loans on people who couldn't afford to make the payments for the last 3-5 years. They made billions!
They can just darn well cut their profits a bit and fix the their problems without taxpayer fund, don't you think?
If you agree with me, send out this page to as many people as you can - especially to your mortgage brokers and lenders:
Let's challenge the mortgage industry to fix itself!
(Note: there were some good points in her plan to provide better, low-interest loans for low-income families. But I totally object to bailing out the lenders with her new plan. Yes, it looks like she's trying to help the families. But the plan should insist the lenders, who've already profited from the substantial points and fees they've collected, should be the ones responsible for re-writing their own loans. The government shouldn't have to foot their bill!)
Note: To send your comments to Senator Clinton, please click here.