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I received a flood of responses on my blog to the issues raised in last week’s column (“Your Own Worst Enemy”) about the political fallout from State Farm’s handling of Hurricane Katrina claims in Mississippi. The carrier intends to settle with thousands of policyholders to fend off lawsuits and a grand jury probe, but the reputational damage is already done, with a Congressional hearing set for Feb. 28.

“I think if claims departments were run by claims people instead of numbers-crunchers, the outcome of the dilemma would have been different,” wrote Marc Dubois. “Mega-insurers have lost contact with the reason they were successful in the first place.”

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