Progressive Insurance lost a lawsuit and a social media battle. When Katie Fisher was killed in a car accident, Progressive fought to avoid paying a settlement to her family. The company was obligated to contribute because the other driver was underinsured. Katie's brother, Matt, wrote a blog post that captured attention: "My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court."
When Progressive was criticized on Twitter and on other social media sites, the company produced repeated tweets, which only fueled the backlash:
The app TwitLonger linked to Progressive's full message, which was longer than 140 characters:
"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 response wasn't received well either, and Progressive has since deleted the tweet and issued this longer statement:
Discussion Starters and Assignment Ideas
- What's your view of Progressive's role in the Fisher case: is the company a monster, just doing what it should to protect itself, or something else?
- Let's help Progressive write better messages. Rewrite the "robo-tweets," as CNN Money called them. What could have been a better initial response?
- We can understand Progressive's desire to explain its role in the lawsuit, but the official statement, above, could be improved. Also, according to CNN Money, "Court documents show that Progressive was added to the case last year as a defendant, alongside the at-fault driver, and that it actively participated in fighting against the Fishers' claims." So, technicalities aside, Matt Fisher was correct that Progressive fought the settlement to Fisher's family. Rewrite Progressive's statement to improve the company's image.