Meet Matt Fisher and his sister Kaitlynn. In June 2010, Kaitlynn was killed when her car was struck by another vehicle that had run a red light. Kaitlynn was insured by Progressive, but in the aftermath of her tragic death, Fisher’s family has been put through hell trying to get the company to pay the full value of her policy. In a blog post titled “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer in Court,” Matt writes about the heartless lengths that Progressive has gone to in order to avoid paying the money the Fishers rightfully deserve on Kaitlynn’s behalf.
The driver of the car that struck and killed Kaitlynn was underinsured, but Kaitlynn had been paying for policy that would cover her in the event of an accident with an underinsured driver, so, Matt writes, “Progressive was now on the hook for the difference between the other guy’s insurance and the value of Katie’s policy.” Alas, what should have been a cut and dry case, proved not. Progressive has gone above and beyond to get out of paying the remainder of what Kaitlynn’s estate is owed from the accident, including defending the driver who hit her in court. See, “In Maryland, you may not sue an insurance company when they refuse to fork over your money,” writes Matt. “Instead, what they had to do was sue the guy who killed my sister, establish his negligence in court, and then leverage that decision to force Progressive to pay the policy.”
So that’s what the Fisher family decided to do, though they don’t harbor much anger for the other driver. “It was an accident and kicking that guy around won’t bring Katie back,” Matt writes. “But kicking that guy around was the only way to get Progressive to pay. So they filed a civil suit against the other driver in hopes that, rather than going to court, Progressive would settle.”
They did not. Instead, Progressive offered to settle with the family — never for more than a third of what they actually owed — and then let the case go to trial when the Fishers refused. In court, the driver of the other car which killed Kaitlynn was defended by Progressive’s lawyers. Luckily, the jury found that the other driver was responsible for the accident, a victory for the Fisher family which should, in theory, result in Progressive finally paying up. But the fact remains that in the aftermath of the death of their beloved daughter and sister, the Fisher family was put through hell by the very insurance company that Kaitlynn paid to protect her and her estate in the event of an accident.
Matt Fisher’s blog post offers a very personal account of just how greedy insurance companies can be. While this is certainly proof of how vile Progressive is, I have no doubt that many other people have experienced similar (if less extreme) battles with their insurance companies. Hopefully the attention being brought to this specific case will result in massive changes across the board.
Our condolences to the Fisher family for their loss. And seriously, fuck Progressive. [Matt Fisher]
[Photo: Matt Fisher]