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Ready for the worst
Ready for the worst

BLOOMINGTON - While State Farm Insurance Cos. turned a profit this year, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Rust Jr. said the Bloomington-based company faces serious challenges in the future.

In a recent interview with The Pantagraph, Rust even called himself "Dr. Doom and Gloom" when talking about the probability of natural disasters that could cost the company billions.

He also discussed the company's slower growth: While local State Farm employment numbers are up from recent years, many of those people are part-time employees, Rust said.

Plus, State Farm contracts with independent companies who employ about 3,600 workers to do a variety of work, from systems analysis to food service.

And State Farm's growth in McLean County will remain slow, Rust said, because the company faces too many risks.

On Friday, State Farm reported a $3.2 billion profit, down from $5.3 billion in 2004. The company earned $2.8 billion in 2003 but lost $1.6 billion in 2002 and $5 billion in 2001.

Despite the turnaround in recent years, Rust is preparing for the worst, and protecting State Farm from potential natural disasters could make it tough to do business in the future.

Read more about Rust's thoughts on these topics and others on today's Business page.

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