Progressive settles with family of deceased policyholder

By: KKCO - Email
By: KKCO - Email

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio (AP) The settlement comes just three days after the policyholder's brother, Matt Fisher, took to his blog to say that the other driver involved in the fatal accident "was defended by Progressive's legal team" when his family sued the driver for negligence.

"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," Mr. Fisher wrote.

Mr. Fisher said his family sued the driver in Maryland state court because they had been unsuccessful in collecting on his sister's Progressive policy, which included coverage that is supposed to pay out when the policyholder is involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. A jury decided in favor of the Fisher family earlier this month.

The blog post ignited a firestorm of criticism against Progressive and caused hundreds of people to flood the company's Facebook page with negative comments.

Progressive, which announced the settlement on its website, said it "worked with the Fisher family and their legal representative to resolve the claim."

Earlier this week, the insurer issued a statement saying that "Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant in this case." The driver was instead defended by another insurer, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., the company said.

That prompted Mr. Fisher to put out a second blog post, saying an attorney working for Progressive sat next to the defendant, conferred with him, questioned witnesses, and gave opening and closing statements in the trial.

"I am comfortable characterizing this as a legal defense," Mr. Fisher wrote.

In announcing the settlement Thursday, Progressive said it was "considered a defendant" in the lawsuit against the driver under Maryland law.

"In order to receive the benefits of an underinsured driver claim, the other driver must be at fault," Progressive wrote. "Sometimes this can be proven without the need for a trial, but in Ms. Fisher's case, there were credible conflicting eyewitness accounts as to who was at fault.

"A trial was necessary so that a jury could review all of the evidence and come to a decision," the company wrote on its website. "As a defendant in this case, Progressive participated in the trial procedures on our own behalf while Nationwide represented the other driver."

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