After creating a massive PR nightmare for themselves, Progressive Corp. has finally agreed to settle with GBTV’s Matt Fisher’s family over the 2010 loss of Kaitlynn Fischer. As reported earlier on TheBlaze, rather than honor Kaitlynn’s policy, the insurance company had instead chosen to defend the other driver (who was found at fault) .
“If you are insured by Progressive, and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay you your policy,” Fisher wrote in a post last Monday on Tumblr.
The The Wall Street Journal explains the situation:
Mr. Fisher wrote in his blog post that his family sued the other driver in the accident that killed his sister, Kaitlynn Fisher, as a means to collect what they believed they were owed on her Progressive policy. The policy included coverage that is supposed to pay out when a policyholder is involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Even though they had an “interested party” involved on the behalf of the driver who was found at fault, Progressive disputed Fisher’s claim:
I’d like to take this opportunity to explain Progressive’s role in this complex case. First and foremost, our deepest sympathies go out to Kaitlynn Fisher’s family.
To be very clear, Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant in this case. He was defended by his insurance company, Nationwide.
There was a question as to who was at fault, and a jury decided in the Fisher family’s favor just last week. We respect the verdict and now can continue to work with the Fisher family to reach a resolution.
But, you see, some people are really, really good at fact-checking claims like the one Progressive made:
After igniting a media firestorm (and getting caught in their own wordsmithing), Progressive finally decided to settle. Fisher’s family was awarded $760,000 by a jury in a Maryland circuit court last week. Progressive finally coughed up $75,000, according to the Fishers’ attorney, Allen Cohen
“Progressive has also agreed to pay ‘tens of thousands’ more to settle with the Fishers over the way the company treated the claim and involved itself in the case,” the Journal reports.
“They paid what we asked them to pay,” said Cohen.
Progressive, announced last Thursday that it has “worked with the Fisher family and their legal representative to resolve the claim.”
So, how do you think this will play out long-term for the insurance company?
“Despite the settlement, Progressive is likely to feel a lingering public relations effect, as plenty of people still post negative comments to the company’s social media accounts,” writes Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell.
Indeed, as Kirell notes, one doesn’t need to look any further than Progressive’s Facebook page to see how unpopular they have made themselves: “Hey look at that, you agreed to pay off the claim the family was originally entitled to. All it took was losing a trial, a media firestorm, and the impending loss of countless customers.”
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