State Farm and ALEC

Below is my blog post on my correspondence with my State Farm agent concerning ALEC.

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I have been a policyholder with State Farm for auto, life, and homeowners insurance since the day I started driving. My parents were State Farm policyholders. Even when I was in the Navy, and could have had a better deal with USAA or other companies, I stuck with State Farm because of reasonable rates and good service. I have never had an issue with a claim or other matter with State Farm agents over the years.

Recently I learned that State Farm is a corporate sponsor of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). I sent an email to my local agent expressing concern. He passed that up the chain, and forwarded me the following response:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a nonpartisan forum of conservative state legislators and private enterprise interests who work together to develop model state legislation for a variety of subject matters. The organization has a commitment to limited government and free markets. More than 400 companies participate in ALEC. As a state-based regulated enterprise, State Farm began participating in ALEC many years ago to effectively ensure our voice was heard on insurance-related legislative issues with the potential to affect the interests of our policyholders.

  • State Farm customers, agents and employees come from all walks of life and represent diverse political views. We "participate" in many organizations representing varied viewpoints – to hear, firsthand, what legislation or regulation may be on the horizon, and then – to have our viewpoint heard. The organizations in which we participate run the gamut of the political spectrum. We participate, but do not support all of the positions or policies adopted by these organizations.
  • State Farm’s participation in ALEC is focused on insurance and related matters. We have had no involvement in other ALEC matters, including the development of model laws like “Stand Your Ground.”
  • It is our understanding the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force that worked on the "Stand Your Ground" Act disbanded some time ago.
  • We are told the organization's legislators are focusing on the core mission of economic and job development and free market support – a decision State Farm supports.


Note in the above response all the non-specific weasel-like language in the above. The disclaimer that "We have had no involvement in other ALEC matters" is bullshit, as financial support for ALEC is de facto support for the ALEC agenda in its entirety. Phrases like "it is our understanding" and "we are told" are State Farm's attempt to deflect attention from ALEC's real agenda.

I have given my State Farm agent (an independent contractor as all State Farm agents are) a chance to convince the parent company to disassociate from ALEC before I pursue other insurance options.

Comments

State Farm

My relationship with State Farm goes back for my entire life. My dad's business partner in a small residential construction company in the upstate of SC was a State Farm agent - an arrangement that I learned a few years ago was very rare and now outlawed by State Farm. I have been a loyal policyholder, and involved in the communities I've lived in with the local agents in other ways.

Their support of ALEC is unconscionable and puzzling from a business sense.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Go to USAA

Used USAA for more than 40 years. Wonderful people in the insurance area. Service not so good in the banking/mortgage area...but still usually ok.

Stan Bozarth

Given ALEC's role in destroying North Carolina

this is definitely a frontpage post for BlueNC. I encourage everyone to "like," "share," "tweet" and otherwise spread this story. My family has a small State Farm policy which we will be happy to cancel.

Your analysis of the corporate propaganda your received is right on the money: total bullshit.

Isn't there usually a Facebook "like" button

available to get this over to our page on FB quickly and painlessly? I only see a Twitter link.

Don't know why it's not showing up

It's there on the front page before you open the entire diary (you should be able to share from there), but it's gone when the full diary is opened.

I've noticed it before on others, and it may have something to do with the length of the piece.

just saw a FB link. i swear it was not there before.

My response to my agent

Chad - this is extremely disappointing. ALEC is not, as the State Farm corporate communications suggest, non-partisan. Support for ALEC is de facto support for all of ALEC's agenda, including proliferation of firearms, voter suppression, environmental regulatory rollbacks, and other items championed by the extreme far right.

I would hope that State Farm would reconsider its participation in an organization whose agenda includes support for firearms proliferation, which would seem to be anathema to the notion of public and individual safety and risk management. Furthermore, ALEC's agenda of voter suppression is contrary to Constitutional law and the democratic notion that elections should be free and fair for all eligible voters.

I understand you are a contractor rather than an employee of State Farm. But I hope that your influence, and that of other State Farm agents who hear from policyholders like me (who are as I understand owners of the mutual company), will persuade the company to immediately discontinue this alliance. If not, we will pursue insurance coverage elsewhere, with an underwriter whose agenda is focused on policyholders rather than a right-wing political agenda.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Beautifully done

I feel sorry for guys like Chad who are caught in the middle on this. But I feel even more sorry for 9 million North Carolinians who are getting screwed by an organization that is funded by the insurance company he represents.

List of ALEC companies

Here's a list (a very long one, I might add) of companies that are current or recent members of ALEC.

This is a list of companies that have cut ties to the group.

Progressives and liberals should be putting the screws on Amazon and ebay, the two largest internet commerce sites on the list, to cut ties with the group.

Note this:

Wells Fargo, which was a member of ALEC in 2011, told CMD in September 2012 that it declined to renew its ALEC membership in 2012,[33] and then subsequently sponsored ALEC's 2013 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

This should be of particular interest to NC liberals and progressives since Wells Fargo bought out NC based Wachovia a few years back.

That list is not completely updated

But it's a good start for reference.

I checked Nationwide and they terminated their relationship years ago.
http://www.nationwide.com/newsroom/100112-ALEC.jsp