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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
Attorney • (800) 770-7008

The Progressive UIM Case That Caused a Stir

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I was watching with interest the stories about the UIM case where the brother of a plaintiff decided to take action after a trial. With "My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court," comedian Matt Fisher's Tumblr post went after Progressive with a vengeance.

Basically, it sounded like the estate settled with the person at fault. Then since their loss was greater than the coverage, a claim was made to the Underinsured motorist coverage. This is the person's own coverage. What bothered Mr. Fischer was that his sister's own company was now defending the defendant. That is the usual nature of the UIM, but since it's the coverage that you paid for, it doesn't seem right when your company is on the other side.

We see this is in UIM, UM (underinsured) , and no fault claims. The "Wait , but it's my company" is not an unusual response from a client. This is why the good faith law that was passed here in Minnesota was so important, because until its passage, the case was that the defendants coverage actually had a greater duty to protect than your own company did.

Beyond the blog, Mr Fischer also went after Progressive through Twitter. The result has had an affect. The Wall Street Journal Blog reported :

Mr. Fisher’s story went viral almost immediately. Crimson Hexagon, which provides a social-media analysis software platform, tracked 3,325 tweets about the blog post on Aug. 13, the day he posted it. Another 3,827 tweeted about it on Tuesday before the online conversation dropped off considerably over the next two days, with fewer than 900 tweets on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Progressive's response has basically been to say "Gee it's a tragedy and we are just doing our job." The battle has caused them problems not only with their actions, but with their limited response. It will be interesting to see if there is more fallout.

Strong Insurance laws are the best way to protect consumers. Because if it's Flo, Havoc, or the Good Hands people, they are all in it for the money. It takes examples like this to really get the point across.