State Farm cuts ties with Harrell

State Farm cuts ties with Harrell

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC/AP) - Former House Speaker Bobby Harrell says he was notified he was being terminated by State Farm with less than 24 hours' notice.

In a statement, Harrell, who has 4,500 customers, said he learned of the change one week ago.

"Last Thursday morning there was a FedEx package at my front door with a letter telling me that my 34-year contract as a State Farm agent was being terminated as of midnight that night," Harrell said. "My biggest concern right now is for my policyholders and how they will maintain the high quality of service that the Harrell family has strived to provide for over five decades."

"I can confirm Bobby Harrell is no longer an active agent," State Farm spokesman Justin Tomczak said.

Harrell had an office on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

State Farm says none of Harrell's former customers will lose their coverage because of the change. But one of Harrell's policyholders said she had not heard of the change and was told all of Harrell's customers should receive a letter notifying them their policies will be transferred to another agent.

"State Farm is currently assisting in the transition to a new agent for this office and is committed to providing the highest level of customer service to our policyholders," Tomczak said.

Tomczak did not offer details about the reason for the termination of Harrell's contract, citing State Farm policy not to comment publicly on contractual matters involving the insurer's independent contractor agents.

Harrell pleaded guilty to six campaign finance violations and agreed to resign from office as speaker of the house in October. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said the plea deal allowed Harrell to avoid jail time in favor of a six year suspended sentence with three years of probation.

He was also ordered to turn over about $10,000 remaining from his campaign account to the state and pay $93,000 to the state's general fund.

Wilson told the Associated Press that in exchange for Harrell's guilty plea to six counts of use of campaign funds for personal expenses, the state agreed to drop charges of misconduct in office.

Harrell also agreed not to run for office for at least three years.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.