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State Farm Issues Response to CNN Report, Insurer Accusations

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ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 12, 2015—CNN’s report on insurance-related issues in the collision repair industry aired on Anderson Cooper 360 on Wednesday, and as reaction poured in Thursday, one of the industry stakeholders at the heart of the feature, State Farm Insurance, issued a response to FenderBender.

The CNN story covered a number of industry issues, including lawsuits from the attorney general's office in Louisiana, as well as a multidistrict case involving more than 500 shops being tried in Florida.

State Farm is named as a defendant in both cases.

State Farm spokesman Dick Luedke told FenderBender on Thursday that the insurer provided CNN with a full response to the allegations brought about by insurers and the inquiries made by CNN reporters in the story.

Of the information provided, only "a small portion ... was used in the report," Luedke said via email.

"We  are disappointed that CNN did not choose to report what ... already [has been] reported, that all of the counts in the multi-district litigation in Florida that are specific to the state of Florida have been dismissed twice, although the court has permitted the Florida plaintiffs a third chance to replead," Luedke said. "Moreover, a Magistrate Judge has recently recommended to the District Judge that the Mississippi complaint also be dismissed. We did make CNN aware of those rulings." 

Luedke provided FenderBender with State Farm's full response to CNN's inquiries:

The allegations in the lawsuit filed by the attorney-general in Louisiana are not in line with State Farm’s mission to serve the needs of its customers, and our long, proud history of achievements in advancing vehicle safety.  Here is a link to State Farm’s safety history:

Our customers choose where their vehicles are going to be repaired.  We provide information about our Select Service program while at the same time making it clear they can select which shop will do the work.

A vibrant, profitable auto collision repair industry is in the interest of State Farm.  At the same time, we are advocates on behalf of our customers for reasonable repair costs.  We believe repairer profitability and quality auto repairs that are reasonably priced can both be achieved. 

State Farm is a defendant along with dozens of other insurers in the litigation relating to issues that have been raised by some auto body repair facilities. 

We want you to know that State Farm has excellent working relationships with thousands of body shops across the country, and that they are serving millions of our customers who consistently indicate their satisfaction with our handling of their claims. 

Here is some evidence of that:

These findings should surprise no one given that State Farm has been the leading insurer of autos in the nation since 1942. 

We also want to point out to you that our customers are totally free to choose where to take their vehicle for repair.  If they choose an independent auto body repair facility that takes part in our Select Service program, they receive from that repair facility a national, limited lifetime repair warranty, something they don’t necessarily receive from a repair facility that is not part of our Select Service program. 

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