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Week of 8.17.07

Industry Responses

NOW contacted the companies mentioned in "Home Insurance 9-1-1" for comment. Below are the statements we received in response.


"The questions posed to us by NOW imply its story will repeat a number of tired, unsubstantiated and discredited allegations by trial lawyers who have an economic interest in fostering conflict between consumers and their insurance companies. In fact, in reviewing the book in which these allegations first appeared, Business Week magazine wrote, "Berardinelli's book is certainly a partisan one, written to support 'bad faith' lawsuits that he and other attorneys have filed against Allstate alleging mistreatment of policyholders." On seven separate occasions, these allegations have been aired in the unbiased setting of a court of law and have been shown to be without merit ..."

» Read the full statement [pdf]

McKinsey & Company

"We appreciate you've offered us the opportunity to comment, however we rigorously preserve client confidences and treat extremely seriously our role as a professional advisor with all of our clients. In line with our Firm's long-standing policy, we do not publicly discuss our clients or details of our client service. As a result, the work of our Firm may not always be accurately understood."

State Farm Insurance

As a representative of State Farm, I am extremely disappointed with PBS, and the content and questionable reporting methods used in, "Home Insurance 9-1-1" (Now, Aug. 17, 2007). As the nation's leading personal lines insurer, we are committed to serving the needs of our tens of millions of customers -- fairly, promptly, and efficiently. Contrary to your report, real data and overall customer experience support our position.

Both the Now report and the Bloomberg magazine article from which PBS admits it derived most of its program content, present many inaccuracies and selective use of facts.

Now begins with a pledge to look into these "controversial practices widespread" in the insurance industry. The term "widespread" in the above context is supported by nothing more than anecdotes and a handful of lawsuits.

We invite readers to visit to learn much more details about the extreme journalistic deficiencies in both the Bloomberg article and the follow up Now PBS program.

We sincerely hope any future PBS coverage of State Farm and the insurance industry provides much clearer context, understanding, and full disclosure. Insurers come to the aid of hundreds of millions of policyholders every year. A trial bar-peddled handful of recycled anecdotes and lawsuits should not, and do not, tell your viewers the true story.

From NOW: We at NOW stand by our reporting.