Think State Farm Insurance is “Like a Good Neighbor,” as the slogan brags in their advertising? Think again. They are a part of the largest anti-consumer group in the country and even after numerous requests from its customers and pro-consumer groups State Farm says it will not budge in its support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). They continue to maintain both their membership and leadership in the organization.
SF VP Louise Perrin said, “(O)ur work with ALEC is limited to research projects for use by public officials considering matters that impact the affordability and accessibility of insurance,” according to the Center for Media and Democracy who has been bird dogging ALEC for some time now. My interpretation of Perrin’s remark is that SF works with ALEC to wring every dollar out of their policyholders with limited coverage in return.
CMD states that Corporations like State Farm pay a hefty amount to participate in ALEC’s business-favored programs, somewhere around $50,000—plus additional money to serve on specific task forces—some of which is spent to promote NRA causes like the “stand your ground” law that has been deemed responsible for the killing of teen ager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
ALEC was also involved in the creation of and passing of Arizona’s anti-immigration law, SB-1070. They have been active in passing voter ID legislation that confuses and discourages the poor and ethnic groups to vote. ALEC wants to privatize the prison system and education across the country when it has been proven that the public system is just as sufficient and less-expensive.
So just remember, every time you pay your premiums for auto and/or homeowner insurance to State Farm, a portion is going to ALEC to support pro-corporate legislation that puts the consumer at the bottom of the priority list. And some of these may be bills that reflect just the opposite of what you believe on the issue. ALEC’s control over conservative Republican state legislators is now legend; in many cases they pass ALEC legislation word for word.
A U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, (D) Wisconsin, comments on ALEC:
CMD says, “State Farm’s participation on ALEC’s insurance committee has put the insurer in a position to benefit from several major pieces of insurance industry model legislation.” This includes the Consumer Choice Motor Vehicle Insurance Act. The Act, “lowers the minimum amount that insurance companies typically must insure motorists for under state law in auto accidents.” Further, “the law can mean lower payouts for insurance companies, yielding higher profits.”
BINGO! State Farm is interested in its profitability over the quality of coverage it provides for its policyholders.
CMD adds, “The lower minimum coverage can also mean that consumers who thought they had insurance for serious accidents do not have enough to cover the injured parties.” It happened in Wisconsin where ALEC worshipper Governor Scott Walker signed legislation that “…reduced the state’s minimum coverage for auto liability insurance by half.” This is a secret collusion between corporations and state legislators led by ALEC with the consumer always on the losing end.
CMD reports on other ALEC-sponsored auto insurance bills that leave consumers holding the bag:
- The After Market Crash Parts Act, which leads to lower costs for insurers transferring “…the risk to policy holders that after-market replacement parts might be inferior to the manufacturer’s part.”
- Create an industry-controlled registry of insured motorists for states to identify motorists who flout mandatory insurance laws (a model law which effectively creates the same kind of public-private partnership in mandated auto insurance that many ALEC members would oppose when it comes to health insurance).
- Restrict or prohibit non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) if an individual in a car accident did not have insurance* — an industry effort to ratchet up the sale of policies.
- Prohibit state governments from being involved in the private insurance market (a theoretical proposition that may be a preemptive strike against policy makers who have considered taxing gas to cover uninsured motorists).
Other companies on the Fortune 500 list with State Farm have dumped ALEC. They are McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Kraft. Currently a total of 10 consumer-oriented companies have cut the cord with ALEC, and CMD forecasts more will follow.
Now I am not suggesting that you drop your State Farm insurance and switch to another company because casualty insurance today is such a tediously technical issue and you need a company track record. And also, if you have the kind of agent I do, you wouldn’t part with him or her for anything. Just call Bob Lapinski at State Farm (309) 735-8621, and tell him to get out of ALEC now.
You can see a series of my posts on ALEC here.