Times Staff and Wire Reports

Farmers Downgraded Over Earthquake Vulnerability: Standard & Poor's Ratings Group reduced its rating of the Farmers Insurance Exchanges' claims-paying ability, from "AA" to "A-plus," noting the impact of the Northridge earthquake. Farmers said the ratings agency's action affirmed the insurer's "urgent need to reduce its unacceptable level of earthquake and serious catastrophic exposure in California and elsewhere." Farmers, which has applied for a sharp increase in its earthquake insurance rates, also called for "swift action" by regulators on proposed rate applications and by Congress on a national disaster insurance program.

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