State Farm says it has high hopes that Wednesday's federal court hearings will eventually lead to a deal between the company and Mississippi policy holders. Judge L.T. Senter has scheduled two hearings, one of which is so he can get more information on a proposed settlement that could affect an estimated 36,000 State Farm customers.
Judge Senter rejected the proposal earlier for being too vague. On Tuesday, a State Farm spokesperson told WLOX News if the settlement goes forward, it would benefit everyone involved.
"What we hope, and it's not just us, it's the plaintiff's attorneys group and the attorney general, who I believe is going to have a representative there too," said company spokesperson Jeff McCollum. "We hope just to answer all the judge's questions about this deal that was worked out. We think it's a deal that's going to be good for a lot of people. We think it's a real good solution to get Mississippi rebuilding and our policy holders with money in their hands so they can start rebuilding."
McCollum said the deal would also benefit State Farm by reducing the litigation the company faces. He said the company is ready to move forward in rebuilding its reputation in Mississippi.
"We're very concerned about the reputational harm that it's done to State Farm," said McCollum. "We take our promise of a good neighbor very, very seriously. I know it sounds like a marketing slogan at times, but we're actually very, very sincere about that. So the fact that there are customers or policy holders that are hurt and who haven't been made whole by this event yet is very bothersome to us. That is really why we would like to get this settled, get it resolved and get money in people's pockets and get them rebuilding, so they can get their lives back together."
State Farm provided WLOX News a copy of documents which outline what the company plans to provide to Judge Senter on Wednesday.
"With due respect, State Farm does not believe it is meaningful to evaluate the proposed settlement against the coverage limits of the above polices for several reasons. First, the vast majority of policy holders did not sustain total loss. Second, State Farm has already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to policy holders in Mississippi, many of whom also received payments pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program. As a result, the coverage limits do not represent the upper range of recovery of class members, even if we were to put aside issues of whether the loss was caused by wind or flood."