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For Immediate Release
January 10, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

MARYLAND REACHES MULTI-STATE AGREEMENT WITH STATE FARM INSURANCE: $40 MILLION TO CONSUMERS


Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran announces today that Maryland and 48 other states plus the District of Columbia have reached an agreement with State Farm Mutual Insurance Company which will result in $40 million in compensation to thousands of car, SUV, and truck owners nationwide who unknowingly purchased “salvaged” vehicles. Attorney General Curran says the agreement resulted after State Farm approached the states and indicated that after an internal review it was unable to confirm that it had properly titled some vehicles as “salvaged.” In most states, depending on factors such as vehicle age and extent of damage, insurance companies taking ownership in such situations must obtain “branded titles,” indicating the vehicles are “salvage,” “damaged,” or similarly-named titles.

Curran says that after titling research is complete, an estimated 30,000 consumers nationwide may be eligible for payments ranging from about $400 up to over $10,000, depending primarily on the current average value of their vehicle, and the number of consumers who participate in the compensation program. The states believe most payments are likely to range from $800 to $1850.

In addition to the $40 million for consumers, State Farm also will pay the expense for the major project of identifying the vehicles, tracing the current owners, contacting owners, taking claims from owners, and making compensation payments. “Consumers who purchased these vehicles, which should have been labeled ‘salvaged,’ deserve restitution and I am glad we are helping them receive it,” says Attorney General Curran. “Those who are entitled will be notified of their eligibility to participate in this settlement after the vehicles involved have been identified.”

Curran says that consumers who complete a claim form and are approved will receive a compensation payment from State Farm later this year or early 2006. Under the agreement, State Farm will work with state departments of motor vehicles in the coming months to determine in each state the specific vehicles which require a branded title. The Maryland owners of those vehicles will receive a letter from Attorney General Curran with a claim form to complete and return to an independent Claims Administrator. After all claims are in, the amount each consumer will receive will be finalized and checks mailed. The final amounts received by consumers will depend on the current value of their vehicle and how many consumers elect to participate in the $40 million payment program.

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