Gilbert Huph: Complaints I can handle. What I can’t handle is your customers’ inexplicable knowledge of Insuricare’s inner workings. They’re experts! Experts, Bob! Exploiting every loophole! Dodging every obstacle! They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!
The Incredibles 2004
You can’t miss the ads for Progressive insurance they are all over TV all the time, some are pretty good and some are eh. But throughout you have Flo (Stephanie Courtney) pitching insurance and saving money. Everyone knows the name of the company. Their Alexa Rank is 4162 nationally and in the US it is ranked #814.
Matt Fischer according to his web site is a comic in NY. He is not well known, I’ve certainly never heard of him until today. His site on Tumbler has no web rank and everything I know about him comes from a single blog post. The one thing I know for sure is his sister was killed in a car accident (my condolences to his family).
He however has access to the internet and that makes all the difference because when his sister (insured by Progressive) was killed in a car accident with an underinsured driver, Progressive didn’t pay on the claim and he used the internet to tell his story:
Now, because the other driver was underinsured, that payment didn’t amount to much, but my sister carried a policy with Progressive against the possibility of an accident with an underinsured driver. So Progressive was now on the hook for the difference between the other guy’s insurance and the value of Katie’s policy.
According to his account Instead of Flo & a clean white store, his family got Gilbert Hugh from the Incredibles
At which point we learned the first surprising thing about Progressive: Carrying Progressive insurance and getting into an accident does not entitle you to the value of your insurance policy. It just pisses off Progressive’s lawyers. Here I address you, Prospective Progressive Insurance Customer: someday when you have your accident, I promise that there will be enough wiggle room for Progressive’s bottomless stack of in-house attorneys to make a court case out of it and to hammer at that court case until you or your surviving loved ones run out of money.
Which is what Progressive decided to do to my family. In hopes that a jury would hang or decide that the accident was her fault, they refused to pay the policy to my sister’s estate.
Due to Maryland Law they could not sue progressive so they had to sue the fellow who ran the light in the accident. According to Mark Progressive offed to pay 1/3 of the claim, (I presume his sister paid 3/3 of the preimums regularly) when that was turned down it went to court and what did Mark see at the table of the fellow who drove the car that killed his sister….
At the trial, the guy who killed my sister was defended by Progressive’s legal team.
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.
Strangely enough Peter Lewis the Chairman of the Board, biggest stock holder and former CEO has no problem making big payouts to other causes such as $2.5 million to Move On.com and 3 Million to Americans Coming Together (both matched by George Soros) according to Snoops.com
You would think a guy that and a company running ads everywhere like Progressive could ignore some guy with a blog…
…you’d be wrong.
Blogs all over picked up the story, it was all over Twitter, progressive put out a statement denying defending the driver and Matt counted with a 2nd post.
Progressive released a statement saying that ”Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant” in my sister’s case. I am not a lawyer, but this is what I observed in the courtroom during my sister’s trial:
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.
and today CNBC wrote this:
A blog post from comedian Matt Fisher entitled “My Sister Paid Progressive insurance to defend her killer in court” — has gone viral. There were nearly 16,000 negative tweets about Progressive just yesterday — that’s up nearly 50,000 percent from a week earlier, according to General Sentiment, a firm which tracks social media chatter.
And the sentiment, the company said, is decidedly negative, with people throwing around terms like “horrific, despicable, and evil” when talking about the insurance firm.
Ya think paying off this policy might have been a better investment that 2 mil plus to Move On huh Mr. Lewis?
But they weren’t worried, they were Progressive Insurance and he was just some guy with access to the internet, what harm could he do? CNBC again.
But as people attacked Progressive on Twitter through Monday and Tuesday morning, Progressive simply tweeted out the same message to every inquiry, accompanied by a photo of its smiling spokeswoman: “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.”
The problem: no matter what Progressive says now, those negative tweets are still out there, weighing on the company’s image. The fact that the company repeatedly tweeted out the same response seemed to draw even more frustration for what Gawker.com called a “robotic” approach.
Gawker. This was picked up by Gawker? Now THAT site has an Alexa Rank of 1409 globally and a US Rank of #412 and with almost 40,000 sites linking to it
All the Millions spent on new Flo ads and clean white sets are not going to undo the damage done to this company’s reputation by this story and their decision to contest this claim, particularly in a market where there are plenty of other choices for people to make.
All men may be equal before the eyes of God, but the power of the internet and social media gives any man with a keyboard or a smartphone a fighting chance against a company with assets over 22.7 Billion unwilling to keep the promise it made to his late sister and her family.
Sam Colt would be proud, I’m sure the Army of Davids is.
Update: DaTechGuy’s alexa rating is 231,702 as of today and 34,602, not too shabby for a one man blog, but this post has been Instalanched (thanks Glenn) and PJmedia has an Alexa rank of #5113 and #1198 in the US.
Still think Move on was a better investment than paying Ms. Fischer’s policy Mr. Lewis?