Auto repair shops win $15 million from insurer

AP News
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Posted: Nov 18, 2009 9:41 AM

A Connecticut jury has awarded $15 million to automobile repair shop owners in their lawsuit accusing an affiliate of The Hartford Financial Services Group of unfair trade practices.

The Stamford Superior Court jury on Tuesday found in favor of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut, which has been battling the Hartford Fire Insurance Co. for six years over appraisals and labor costs for vehicle repairs.

The owners' group said the insurer's labor rates were artificially low and the company discouraged the use of independent appraisers in favor of its own appraisers, in order to control all aspects of car repairs.

The Hartford says it will appeal the verdict.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says appraisers should not be influenced by insurance companies.