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Occidental Insurance Summary
The Occidental Fire & Casualty Company of North Carolina, known by the trade name of Occidental Insurance, was founded in 1960. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of IAT-Reinsurance Group (IAT Re) headquartered in Illinois but domiciled in Bermuda.
Although Occidental offers auto & homeowners insurance, it true strength is in niche and specialty insurance, especially alternative risk types of coverage.
Licensed in all states except Hawaii.
Homeowners: AK, AZ, CA, LA, NV, NJ, NM, NY, SC, VA, UT
Dwelling fire: AZ, LA, NY
Auto Insurance – Either a state minimum or full coverage package is available. Discounts for multi-policy coverage.
Homeowners Insurance – Packages vary based on state, but coverages will generally match local market offerings. Occidental does offer flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Property Owners – Dwelling fire packages for property owners is available in the three states listed above. This can be included as a multi-policy qualifier.
Commercial Auto – Occidental specializes in coverages for both large trucking operations and for independent operators, both in short- and long-haul classes. Plans have a great deal of flexibility, even when it comes to payments.
Other Coverages – Many of Occidental commercial coverages are available only through the excess and surplus program. The range includes general liability, commercial property, inland marine, farm liability, crop insurance, and liquor liability. Excess and surplus insurance is used when a customer, for a variety of legitimate reasons, cannot find reasonable coverage through standard offerings available in their home state.
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With more than half of its revenue derived through excess and surplus coverages, Occidental can often be competitive with its personal lines insurance. For personal auto, an online quote is available. For all other types of insurance, potential customers must contact an independent agent.
Unfortunately, Occidental does not make this an easy task except for commercial trucking insurance clients who can call 800-525-7486. Potential clients who might need other commercial and farm insurance can call 888-389-0598.
One of the first things to notice on Occidental’s website is that the home page offers no information on making a claim or even any link to make a claim. Its odd, but there appears to be a second website run by Occidental Insurance that has a little more information about the claims process (and I mean a little). By visiting this contact page, you can find an email address that appears to be for the claims department. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My assumption here is that Occidental prefers you go through your agent when filing a claim, which can be problematic when something occurs outside of normal business hours.
Occidental Fire & Casualty is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau with nine complaints in the last three years; two in the past 12 months.
Results from the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) Center are mixed. Based on a national median complaint ratio of 1.00, Occidental received the following scores from the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) Center 2016:
- Private passenger auto insurance: 4.70 (37 complaints)
- Homeowner: 0.25 (three complaints)
- Commercial auto: 4.20 (ten complaints)
- Commercial liability: 0.00 (zero complaints)
- Commercial property: 0.31 (one complaint)
Keep in mind that almost 40 percent of Occidental’s business comes from writing multiple peril crop insurance. Much of the company’s business, in fact, is covering what is known as “surplus” insurance, or in plain terms, a variety of policies written when customers cannot find a standard carrier to insure them. However, this typically applies to commercial rather than personal coverage.
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Although Occidental’s complaint ratio for homeowner insurance is acceptable, its rate for auto insurance, typically bundled with the homeowner policy for a discount, is troublesome. Not recommended for private personal insurance unless there are no other alternatives.
Occidental’s commercial coverages, however, especially for commercial trucking and farming operations, seem to be worth a look. The company is especially attuned to the needs of these two areas, and backed by IAT Re, it may be a good alternative for companies who are start-ups, un-rated, or opening new territories.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.