Belmont shop sues insurance company
By Nancy Moore
Gazette Staff Reporter

GASTONIA — A Belmont body shop claims Nationwide Insurance has been illegally steering customers
away from it for at least three years.

Pack Brothers Paint & Body Shop Inc. accuses Nationwide as a company and agent Joe Benkendorf
individually of slander, libel, fraud and interference with commerce, according to a lawsuit filed last
week in Gaston County Superior Court.

The lawsuit also alleges Nationwide improperly told vehicle owners it would not pay for repairs made by
Pack Brothers.

The body shop seeks actual and punitive damages in excess of $10,000.

Ronnie Pack, manager of Pack Brothers, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Benkendorf said he wouldn’t comment about the lawsuit until he talks with an attorney. He said lawsuit
questions will be referred to a Nationwide representative.

According to the lawsuit, Nationwide was "motivated to engage in unlawful steering because of
Nationwide’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ program, under which Nationwide received lower rates for automobile

It cited examples of vehicle owners who planned to have repairs made at Pack Brothers, but changed
their minds after Nationwide adjusters allegedly made false statements about the repair shop.

In addition to remarks about price and workmanship, Nationwide also allegedly told people it would take
longer to get insurance claims settled if it was dealing with Pack Brothers.

The lawsuit alleges Nationwide would be more likely to declare a car a total loss if Pack Brothers was
involved to avoid repairs.

"Nationwide supervisors instruct Nationwide adjusters to ‘total’ a wrecked vehicle (taken to Pack
Brothers) if the repair cost is approximately 65 percent of the value of the vehicle," the lawsuit states.
"In all other cases, Nationwide’s policy is to total a vehicle only when the repair costs exceed 75

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