After eight years of battling each other in court, Progressive Insurance and Greg Coccaro, owner of North State Custom in Bedford Hills, NY, have reached a settlement ahead of a Jan. 28 trial date.
Coccaro said he could not discuss the specifics of the settlement agreement, but he did express relief that he could finally put this behind him now. “After eight years, it’s pretty weird not having to think about this anymore,” said Coccaro. “I basically can now have my life back and spend a little more time working on my business. You would have to go through the stress that I did to understand it. Once it was over, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took me two to three weeks to get out of ‘legal mode.’ It never left me night or day for those eight years. It was very difficult for everyone involved, but we did what we did, stood up and didn’t cave.
“I think a lot of good came out of the whole thing for the industry in a lot of ways. Anyone who has followed this can understand why. I’m very glad it’s over, and so is my family. It was a little difficult to live through some of the more stressful times, but I’m back and trying to get back to myself and how I was before.”
Asked what advice he has to other shops considering legal action against insurers, Coccaro said it depends on the circumstances.
“One has to think long and hard before taking on a billion-dollar corporation,” he said. “In my case, I felt I had no choice. The problem is that it has to be something that’s pretty egregious for you to do it. I felt if I didn’t do it, I had a chance of losing my business, so that’s why I did it. I don’t think it’s something that a single shop wants to take on. Anything similar to what I did would have to be done on a class-action where there are multiple shops rather than laying it on the shoulders of one individual shop. Don’t take anything on alone unless you absolutely have to.”