Farmers Insurance Group won't renew home insurance in Texas.

Farmers Insurance Group said it will not renew homeowner policies in Texas in 2002, effectively putting it out of a market where Farmers serves 600,000 customers.

The company cited the dramatic increase in mold claims as the reason for this decision. Farmers said its water and mold losses increased 158 percent from August 2000 to this August. In 1999, the company had 12 mold claims in Texas. Last year it had 499; and so far this year, it has nearly 8,000.

Earlier this year, Farmers joined competitors State Farm and Allstate in their decisions to stop selling comprehensive policies to new customers.

(Source: Washington Post, Nov. 11, 2001)