Earlier this week, insurance company Progressive was the subject of intense social media scrutiny after comedian and Tumblr-er Matt Fisher wrote a sad and anger-inciting blog post about the “wringer” his family had been put through by the actions of Progressive after the tragic death of his sister Katie in a 2010 car accident.
Fisher explains that Katie, then 24, was killed after another driver plowed through a red light and hit her car. Complicating matters, the driver who fatally struck Fisher’s sister was underinsured, a circumstance for which Katie paid a premium to protect against.
Fisher then explained that Progressive, Katie’s insurance company, defended the other driver — the one who hit Katie’s car and killed her — in court in order to establish some sort of negligence on her part and avoid paying Katie’s estate for the claim.
Progressive responded to Twitter queries about Matt Fisher’s blog posts with a series of automated-sounding TwitLonger tweets about the situation, tweets that were later removed after many deemed them insensitive and callous. But the company has responded about the situation, with Progressive PR guy Chris Wolf saying:
“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.”
Fisher has responded to Progressive’s response, saying that their account was not exactly accurate. Describing Progressive’s characterization of events as “infuriating,” Matt Fisher explains:
“At the beginning of the trial on Monday, August 6th, an attorney identified himself as Jeffrey R. Moffat and stated that he worked for Progressive Advanced Insurance Company. He then sat next to the defendant. During the trial, both in and out of the courtroom, he conferred with the defendant. He gave an opening statement to the jury, in which he proposed the idea that the defendant should not be found negligent in the case. He cross-examined the plaintiff’s witnesses.”
“On direct examination, he questioned all of the defense’s witnesses. He made objections on behalf of the defendant, and he was a party to the argument of all of the objections heard in the case. After all of the witnesses had been called, he stood before the jury and gave a closing argument, in which he argued that my sister was responsible for the accident that killed her, and that the jury should not decide that the defendant was negligent… I am comfortable characterizing this as a legal defense.”
You can read Fisher’s comments on the Progressive issues the family has experienced following his sister’s death over at his blog on Tumblr.
Chris Wolf, a claims general manager at Progressive, has responded to this story with the following statement:
“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.”