The United States District Court in Little Rock has approved settlement of a class action by rice producers against Acceptance Insurance Companies Inc. and several affiliated companies.
Based on a June 30, 2000 hearing, the Court’s Order determined the previously announced settlement terms, preliminarily approved May 1, are fair, reasonable and adequate, and in the best interest of the settlement class. A Court-appointed Settlement Master, retired Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Dawson, will now allocate the $3.7 million settlement fund, which Acceptance previously placed in escrow, among the rice producers who submitted claims.
The court’s order dismisses the class action lawsuit, and approves a complete and final release of all defendants. John Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Acceptance, said that in addition to settlement of this lawsuit the Company also had resolved all concerns of state insurance regulators arising from the unprecedented demand for the Company’s products during early 1999.
He added, “We are very pleased to conclude all of the issues resulting from the 1999 spring sales season. Our increased emphasis on crop insurance, and on delivering innovative and leading specialty insurance products to our valued customers, can now continue without the distractions of these past events.”
American Agrisurance, an Acceptance affiliate, developed both of the first two forms of crop revenue insurance ever made available to rice producers, CropRevenueCoverage(c) and CRCPlus®. Kim Gibson, President of American Agrisurance, described the settlement as “a major step forward for rice producers and for our Company.” Gibson also said, “Today AmAg is working very hard to develop alternative insurance products for the thousands of rice producers who showed last year that they need better crop insurance than they’ve had in the past, and we are determined to succeed.”
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