You see their famous commercials all over television. Progressive Insurance company’s pitch-woman, Flo, may even be a household name but don’t let the commercials fool you. When it comes to paying out policies their own customers pay for, the company is not as “progressive” as it claims to be.
In 2010, Katie Fisher, a paying Progressive customer, was killed at an intersection by a driver who ran a red light. The at-fault driver was under-insured, so Fisher’s surviving family filed a claim with Progressive to collect her underinsured motorists (UM) payout. Progressive paid only ¼ of the total policy ($25,000), forcing Fisher’s family to sue the driver for negligence in order to force Progressive to pay the remaining $75,000. The family was simply looking to use money from Fisher’s own policy to pay for funeral expenses and remaining college loans Fisher still carried.
This was money from a policy that Katie paid for to protect her in the event that she was injured by someone who did not have adequate insurance. It was a smart move on her part, but Progressive (Katie’s own insurance company) refused to pay the entire policy. Her brother, Matt Fisher, took matters into his own hands and posted an angry letter on his social media page titled “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer in Court.” Matt Fisher says he was most outraged when Progressive sat in court and actively participated in the other driver’s legal defense. Fisher’s scathing post on the internet went viral and turned into a social media nightmare for Progressive.
The insurance company took heat from thousands of angry citizens, some Progressive customers, but still defended its position. Three days later, they reached a settlement with the Fishers for an undisclosed amount of money.
The company is since trying to explain their actions due to the public relations nightmare. On August 9th, a jury ruled the driver who hit and killed Katie Fisher was at fault and only then did Progressive work with the Fisher family to resolve the claim.
There is much that can be learned from this case. First, what Progressive did was not illegal and, in our firm’s experience, happens all the time. Insurance companies are not your friends and they’re not on your side. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to make sure the policies you pay for are there when you need them most.
The second lesson is the importance of having Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM) coverage in the event you are injured by someone without enough coverage to pay for your injuries. If you’ve been in a car accident, motorcycle accident or boating accident, The Law Offices of Robert Rubenstein can help navigate your insurance claim and make sure you don’t fall victim to any insurance company’s refusal to pay.
We have offices in Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach. You can speak to a representative for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-FL-Legal (355-3425) or visit our website at rubensteinlaw.com.