State Farm is a massive insurance company. With over 42 million vehicles covered under its policies, the insurance giant commands roughly 18 percent of the U.S. market. In fact, State Farm's share of the overall market is so big that it can apparently see possible trends in vehicle issues by simply analyzing claim data, as evidenced by its admission that it informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of Toyota unintended acceleration issues as early as late 2007.

Reuters is reporting that State Farm contacted the government agency several times to report red flags. State Farm spokesman Kip Diggs told Reuters "when you start to see significant claims activity that indicates that there may be widespread problems with a product, that's when you go to the NHTSA," adding that the trends need to show "significant activity, a noticeable trend, for that to happen." Other insurance companies, including Progressive and American Family Insurance Group didn't observe such a trend, but Progressive has reportedly told Reuters that it is going to look over its claims again to see if it sees any patterns. State Farm does have a far higher percentage of the overall market, though, giving it a bigger pool of data for finding such issues.

Separately, Toyota's reputation took another hit as Kelly Blue Book lowered the residual value of its vehicles twice within the span of a week. KBB reportedly cited a slack in demand for used Toyotas coupled with what it perceives as Toyota's weak confidence in its products. The two reductions in residual value equal about 3.5 percent, or about $700 off the value of a used Sequoia SUV. Residual vales of Toyota vehicles have long been among the best in the industry.



[Sources: Reuters, KansasCity]