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Wednesday July 17

Farmers Sues California Body Shop for Insurance Fraud

Farmers Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange has served summons and complaints upon a Contra Costa County body shop and its owners, accusing them of taking part in a large scale scheme designed to defraud the companies' policyholders. Using a statute that the California Legislature passed specifically to help combat insurance fraud, Farmers' effort represents a continuation of its efforts to combat fraud.

The suit details how the shop allegedly billed Farmers for services that were never rendered, inflated repair costs and submitted phony repair invoices.

"We are determined to take the profit out of fraud. It is unfair for honest individuals to pay for the actions of a few dishonest people. Farmers is committed to fighting fraud and controlling the cost of insurance for our customers," said Doug Ashbridge, Director of Special Investigations at Farmers.

The Contra Costa County action seeks over one million dollars based upon an investigation that began in April of 2002. The investigation revealed that the shop inflated invoices up to three times the actual services rendered and billed for services never provided.

The suit served is similar to other successful cases pursued by Farmers against body shops and are part of Farmers' nationwide commitment to protect its customers from added expense directly linked to insurance fraud.

Farmers is represented by Dennis B. Kass of Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, LLP.

Farmers Insurance Group of Companies includes the nation's third-largest group of home and auto insurers.

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