GBTV/The Blaze’s Matt Fisher, host of The B.S. of A, has called out Progressive Insurance on his Tumblr page, posting an article titled, “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance To Defend Her Killer In Court.”
The insurance debacle began on June 19th, 2010 when Fisher’s sister, Katie, was killed in a car accident in Baltimore, Maryland. The accident occurred when a driver ran a red light and struck Katie’s vehicle, causing her fatal injuries. A settlement offer from Nationwide, the striking driver’s insurer, came quickly after Katie’s death, but the driver was under-insured and the driver’s policy limits were insufficient to compensate for Katie’s death.
Ms. Fisher had purchased auto insurance with Progressive, and bought additional coverage in the event she was involved in a collision with an under insured driver. The policy required Progressive to pay a benefit that covered the deficit between what the striking driver’s insurance paid and the appropriate compensation to the family for Katie’s wrongful death caused by the striking driver.
According to Matt Fisher’s article, Progressive refused to pay the policy to Katie’s estate because they wanted to contest the fault of the striking driver. Katie’s parents then pursued legal action in order to pay Ms. Fisher’s outstanding student loans. Since it’s illegal to sue an insurance company for denying compensation in Maryland, Katie’s parents filed a civil suit against the driver who caused the accident, hoping that Progressive would admit the striking driver was at fault and voluntarily pay the benefit that Katie had purchased.
Fisher states that Progressive made “a series of offers”, but never more than one third of the amount of insurance benefit Katie purchased. Progressive responded to the Fisher family and other critics with a tweet saying, “This is a tragic case, and our sympathies go out to Mr. Fisher and his family for the pain they’ve had to endure. We fully investigated this claim and relevant background, and feel we properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations. Again, this is a tragic situation, and we’re sorry for everything Mr. Fisher and his family have gone through.”
The case eventually went to trial, but Fisher claims that at the trial, Progressive’s legal team actually defended the man who fatally hit Katie’s vehicle, because they wanted to show the striking driver was not at fault for the collision so that Progressive would not have to pay the benefit Katie purchased. On August 9th, of this year, the jury found the striking driver to be the at-fault driver in the accident.
On August 14th, Progressive’s Claims General Manager, Chris Wolf, posted a statement about the case, saying, “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.” Matt Fisher’s Tumblr article was in response to Progressive’s statement.
It has been reported, though, that “despite a denial of assisting the individual responsible for the death…court documentation shows that Progressive was given permission to participate on the side of the defense back in May 2011.”
On August 16th, an agreement was reached between Progressive Insurance and the Fisher family to settle the claim.