New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Insurance Industry


October 18th, 2007

Progressive Insurance Blunders Again

Some lawyers are dumb. I don’t know how else to put it. And this particular pratfall has to be the fault of an attorney.

Last month I wrote of Progressive Insurance spying on a church group — and taping private support group discussions where people were confidentially bearing their souls — in order to obtain information on a claimant that was a member of the group.

After the Atlanta Journal Constitution busted this tactic on its pages, the CEO of Progressive apologized for the appalling conduct and said:

“When I read that story I was appalled and, frankly, didn’t believe that it could possibly be accurate. I have since learned that the essential facts in the story are correct. What the investigators and Progressive people involved in that case did was wrong –period. I personally want to apologize to anyone who was affected by this incident.”

So what happens now? According to yet another story in the AJC yesterday, Progressive is now defending a violation of privacy lawsuit that arose out of the spying on the confessionals, and now says its spying was reasonable. But this isn’t because the defense lawyers are clueless and created the defense inadvertently. Progressive’s spokesperson, according to the article, has defended the defense. That means, to me, that the idea either came from, or is being defended by, the general counsel to the company.

So when the CEO said it was wrong. Period. I guess he didn’t really mean “period” as in we-have-no-excuse-or-justification-and-won’t-even-try. Because now the conduct is reasonable.

Some folks, it seems, know the fine art of taking a bad situation and making it worse.

(hat tips: The Consumerist and Shigley)

Addendum: Perlumtter & Schuelke weigh in with frivolous defenses driving up litigation costs.

(Eric Turkewitz is a personal injury attorney in New York)

Links to this post:

November 26 roundup
All-automotive edition: Court won’t unseal settlement arising from <05 million Aramark/Giants Stadium dramshop case for fear girl’s father will try to get his hands on money [NJLJ,, Childs; earlier]

posted by @ November 26, 2007 12:02 AM

carnival of the capitalists #211
the editor of blawg review, who toils in anonymity with the help of tireless sherpa guides to the blogosphere, is proud to be hosting this week’s edition of the longest-running blog carnival, the carnival of the capitalists.

posted by Editor @ October 22, 2007 12:01 AM

I’m sorry. No, I’m not.
New York Personal Injury Law Blog: Progressive Insurance Blunders Again: Some folks, it seems, know the fine art of taking a bad situation and making it worse.
posted by lilyhill @ October 18, 2007 12:00 AM

4 thoughts on “Progressive Insurance Blunders Again

  1. I am a new customers to progessive. I had a accident within a few days of starting my policy with progressive. After, I reported the accident, I have been faced with nothing but discredting remarks from the Owings Mills, Maryland location. Two upper mgmt staff there, Mr. Dan McGuirk and Mr. Keith Goldberg has accused me of being untruthful about the accident. They have gone as far as telling me that I should have not pick progressive insurance if I had insurance prior. I am without a vehicle and have not received any support from this company. I believe that they target certain individuals based upon race, gender and location. I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO CHOOSE PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE FOR COVERAGE!!!!! If there is anyone out there that can help me find a lawyer or support to assist with this matter.

  2. In this day and age, a company like Progressive taping conversations of “other” people? It is simply amazing. I find it very hard to believe but apparently it’s true. These companies have a law department that is supposed to educate them on the proper do’s and don’ts. Amazing.

  3. Auto Accident and Progressive Insurance (Please read)Share
    Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 2:41pm | Edit Note | Delete
    Some of you know that I was rear-ended almost 2 years ago by a girl who wasn’t looking at the road but at something below the steering wheel (hmmm, cell phone or texting perhaps?) I was stopped dead when she hit me and she never hit the brakes.She pushed my car several feet and I barely missed being pushed into a Lexus SUV. The police arrived at about the same time Jim was able to get there from work so I said no ambulance but that Jim would take me to urgent care. By that time I had a HUGE headache and the pain through my neck, shoulders and upper back was severe. We had a golf vacation scheduled (and already paid for-non refundable, of course) for two weeks later. I couldn’t even putt much less swing a club.

    Now, after receiving various treatments from massages, to muscle relaxers and vicodin, to chiropractic manipulations, to a specialty mattress (on the advice and written RX from my primary care doctor), Progressive Insurance is only willing to pay about a third of my medical bills. On top of that, they now want to settle the claim (without paying the rest of the medical bills, etc.) and have offered a pittance for 2 years of pain and suffering. I am so frustrated. I DID NOT want to have to go the litigation route. It is just not who I am but I feel like I have been left no other choice. I still have a level of chronic pain and don’t see the end in sight. But this insurance company is not willing to consider that my pain may continue into the uncertain future.

    So, when you see those cute little Progressive Insurance advertisements on TV, remember…you get what you pay for. How would you feel if you had an auto accident and your insurance company refused reasonable care to the person you injured? I am glad that we are insured by one of the BIG multi-line insurane companies that operates, in my opinion, with the greatest of integrity. Remember, cheaper is NOT always better.