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‘Online firestorm’ erupts after Progressive defends woman’s killer

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:09 EDT
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A sign at the insurance company Progressive's headquarters. Photo: Screenshot via "CBS This Morning."
 
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The insurance company Progressive is facing what “CBS This Morning” called on Thursday an “online firestorm,” after a man’s blog post describing how Progressive defended his sister’s killer sent throngs of angry customers to the company’s social media sites.

Appearing on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, Fisher explained that the other driver was under-insured, but that his insurance company, Nationwide, paid up immediately. However, since his sister Katie had a $100,000 policy with Progressive, he says they decided to defend her killer and try to blame the wreck on her.

“The guy who, for better or worse, killed my sister had more than one attorney,” Fisher told CBS. “He had two attorneys and one of them identified himself at the beginning of the case as an employee of Progressive.”

“He cross-examined our witnesses, he conducted direct examination of their witnesses and at the end, he made a closing statement,” Fisher added. “He argued that the other guy had a green light.”

In a short essay that went viral this week, Matt Fisher describes how his 24-year-old sister, a Progressive customer, was killed in a car wreck, yet Progressive sent its attorneys to defend her killer simply to avoid paying the total sum of her policy. However, the other driver lost in court after a witness said he had run a red light, and Fisher’s family was awarded over $700,000 in damages.

“Carrying Progressive insurance and getting into an accident does not entitle you to the value of your insurance policy,” Fisher’s August 13 blog post explains. “It just pisses off Progressive’s lawyers.”

The case caused such fury online that Progressive has been scrambling to make good, denying that it defended the woman’s killer. In a prepared statement, Progressive told CBS that it had come to “an agreement” Fisher family, but did not specify what that may be.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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