Kim Flemming thought that losing Jake, her 12-year-old yellow Labrador, in Aurora, Ontario was bad enough. That was until she received a letter from State Farm Insurance demanding that she pay for the dented bumper on the car that killed Jake.
Flemming had let Jake out when she returned home. He dashed into the road and was hit. He died in her arms.
Two months later, State Farm sent the bill for 1,732.80 Canadian dollars (1,648.95 US) stating “we are looking to you for reimbursement.”
State Farm spokesman John Bordignon insisted that this is only right and proper: “They could have made sure their dog wasn’t free on the roadway.” I suppose that would also encompass children killed by cars insured by State Farm.
Once again, why would State Farm want this bad press for less than two grand in reimbursement? It conveys that message to customers that the company is a heartless stereotype of an insurance giant. I doubt many people are reading this story and thinking “Hmmm, that sounds like a company that I would like to work with in case of any accidents.”
It appears that, whether it is a funeral or a hospital bed, “like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” to give you a bill for your grief.
State Farm appears to be pushing for recovery in unconventional reimbursement claims. Recently, it pursued a dram-shop-like claim against an employer that allowed a driver access to a keg before an accident, here. That, however, is more defensible than pursuing families for the damage caused in the killing of their pets.
In the meantime, State Farm is suing Texas after its Department of Insurance after the agency publicized on its Web site recent rate hikes by the company, here. State Farm insists that the agency should not have revealed the increases to the public, but Texas insists that all documents submitted to the agency are treated as public information. Once again, the lawsuit shows a curious legal analysis. In the fight to keep rate hikes from the public, the company has sued to ensure millions of people learn not only that the company has significant rate hikes but does not want the public to know.
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