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When State Farm settled a lawsuit with Thomas and Pamela McIntosh for $250,000 in September, it marked the end of more than just a standard insurer/policyholder legal compromise. It brought to resolution a case that well-known litigator Richard “Dickie” Scruggs used to call into question the integrity of State Farm, and the insurance claim industry as a whole, following the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

For two years, the company and the industry was forced to defend itself publicly and privately from charges of bad-faith and claim-mishandling allegations in a breach-of-contract suit. At times, it seemed everybody was willing to join the mob. Senators, congressmen, and attorney generals all seemed to forget the presumption-of-innocence maxim. Even the mainstream media seemed intent on painting the industry as nothing but a profit monger.

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