After Toyota released a statement that they will be recalling 8 million cars worldwide due to a faulty part, State Farm released a statement that way back in late 2007, they had noticed a trend and informed the NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of a possible problem with Toyota vehicles. The insurance company also kept in touch with the NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after the complaint. State Farm noticed a sharp increase in the number of Toyota vehicles involved in accidents and thought that something was amiss. Other insurance companies didn’t register any such statistics, nor did they detect a trend. State Farm and other insurance companies are now going through old cases to see if the driver was actually at fault, or if it was actually the vehicle that had malfunctioned, thus causing the accident.
With such a large recall, Toyotas customer base was shaken. The customers were beginning to lose faith in their auto manufacturer. Toyotas are known to be reliable vehicles, and such an instance can cloud a person’s judgment and perception of the problem. However many auto magazines and writers have sided with Toyota and said that such issues are faced by all companies and appreciated Toyota for providing a free replacement option for that particular part to all its customers.
In the past too, insurance companies have helped to pin point manufacturing faults. A decade ago, State Farm had escalated an issue to the NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the Ford Explorer. The Bridgestone tires that came fitted on the Ford Explorer bore a manufacturing defect which was worked out once State Farm detected it.
Congress has understood the role that insurance companies can play, and is once again asking for their assistance.
Two Congress leaders have now requested five of the larger auto insurance companies in the United States to provide them with figures on accidents involving Toyotas. The congressmen have approached Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Progressive and State Farm. Letters were sent out to the Chief Executives of the five companies by Chairman Henry A Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The request is for detailed information on complaints received from vehicle owners of sudden unintentional acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Data is also requested on any correspondence received from insurance companies by the NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about defects or a trend of defects in Toyota Vehicles.