Progressive Insurane Company was lambasted by Mathew Fisher when Progressive took the side of an uninsured motorist who had killed his sister. Mathew's sister, Kaitlyn, was insured by Progressive. The driver who allegedly ran a red light and killed her was uninsured. When Kaitlyn's family asked Progressive to pay its limit of liability under the uninsured motorist portion of the policy, Progressive refused. Progressive forced the Fisher family to go to court to establish that the other driver was at fault and that the family had suffered damage. To the Fisher family's amazement, Progressive took the position of the uninsured motorist and attempted to show that he was not at fault but that Kaitlyn was.
Mathew Fisher blogged about what happened in the court room. "At the trial, the guy who killed my sister was defended by Progressive's legal team," he wrote. "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."
Fisher's blogs have caught the attention of many. Progressive lost at trial and the jury found damages of $760,000, even though the Progressive policy only provided coverage for $100,000. No one disputes that the Fishers were required to show that the uninsured driver was at fault. However, Progressive has a duty to act in good faith when its insured brings a claim against it. Progressive cannot assert defenses that are not supported by some credible, reliable evidence. That is the issue in this case. If Progressive's defenses were frivolous, then Progressive may be liable for additional damages to the Fishers for its bad faith handling of Kaitlyn Fisher's wrongful death claim.
Although we all expect our own insurance company to be on our side, insurance companies can often forget who has been paying premiums for many years and do their best to avoid making payments under the insurance policy.