Progressive Says Lying Its Way Into Church Support Group To Dig Up Lawsuit Dirt Was "Reasonable"

Remember how Progressive got caught infiltrating a church support group and secretly recording it in hopes of discrediting two of its members involved in an insurance claim? And then their CEO posted a public apology, calling the incident “apalling?” Well, now, in defending itself against the lawsuit filed by the people whose privacy was breached, Progressive is calling its actions “reasonable.” Progressive must be some kind of special alchemist to brew a concoction both “appalling” and “reasonable” at the same time.

Progressive now says its spying was ‘reasonable’ [Atlanta-Journal Constitution] (Thanks to Christopher!)
(Photo: The Master Shake Signal)


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  1. darkclawsofchaos says:

    This put a whole new meaning to “They’re everywhere”

  2. ogman says:

    Yeah, and if you did something similar to Progressive, they would smear you, sue you, and bribe someone to file charges against you.

  3. humphrmi says:

    I’m surprised the church isn’t suing. A lot of groups require NDAs now before you can join. I’d love to see them get walloped for a breach-of-contract suit that doesn’t involve their core business.

  4. godawgs7 says:

    it’s the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Not Atlantic.

    Now that that’s settled, i’m off to read the New Yorker Times.

  5. MonkeySwitch says:

    A girl flipped her drunkenly flipped her car upside down and skidded into my car and then fled the scene. (Leaving the car upside down in the middle of the street) Progressive were the biggest bunch of assholes I’ve ever had to deal with. They would just ignore my messages and wouldn’t return my calls and drug their feet trying to come to any sort of agreement with us.

  6. MonkeySwitch says:

    (sorry for the double ‘flipped her’)

  7. mconfoy says:

    but they have cool commercials

  8. swalve says:

    @humphrmi: An NDA to join a church? NOW who doesn’t get it.

    Good for Progressive. Why should it be OK to commit insurance fraud simply because the alleged fraudster is a member of a church?

  9. cabinaero says:

    A Progressive-insured driver ran a four-way stop and t-boned one of my coworkers. Her experience in dealing with Progressive means that, once my insurance is up in February, I’ll be moving my business elsewhere.

  10. Buran says:

    @swalve: Who said it was OK? It’s the method that’s being questioned here.

  11. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @swalve: I assume humphrmi meant the NDA was required for joining a support group.

  12. squikysquiken says:

    Since when being legal is the same has been moral anyway. Arbitration is legal, yet I doubt anyone here is going to call it moral.

    @cabinaero: I’m going to be callous and say: you should switch because of the article, not because of the way Progressive treated your coworker. I don’t care how my insurance company treats the other party but I care about the way they treat me; I am their customer, not them.

  13. Sidecutter says:

    @squikysquiken: You better start caring about how they treat the other party real quick. Because if the other party that was hurt/had their property damaged can’t get them to come up with a fair resolution (barring the greedy shits who just want MOREEE!), it’s going to court, and they CAN attempt to come after you directly. Whether your insurance company deals fairly with both parties is very important.

  14. bohemian says:

    This isn’t just Progressive. Just about every insurance company is doing some very crooked things that they could not get away with say 20 years ago.

    Just because Progressive or any other company claims that someone who files against a policy is a fraudster does not mean that person IS a fraudster. Attacking the injured party is standard procedure today if it is warranted or not.

    I know Waxman is eyeball deep in the current various problems in our country but the Insurance industry needs to be re-regulated. Things that used to be either regulated, were so corrupt it would ruin a company reputation, or would raise the ire of the state insurance board are standard procedure today.

    They need to put detailed regulation on how a claim can be processed and investigated. They also need to put HUGE penalties on companies that are proven to have purposely delayed paying a claim for no justified reason.

    Right now companies have a nothing to lose situation on flat denials, foot dragging or taking something to court. They want people to just give up and the worst they get is they have to pay what they were supposed to pay in the first place. There is no incentive to pay legit claims.

  15. ShortBus says:

    Just thought that I’d jump in amongst the pile-on… Just two weeks ago, 16 -yr old girl who had her license for three days ran a red light and broad-sided my truck, totaling it. I had just switched my insurance over from Allstate to Progressive because they were considerably cheaper. However, I’ve been extremely happy with the difference in service as well. Progressive’s claim processing was a lot more streamlined and personable than Allstate. There was zero hassle about the whole thing. This is in Michigan though, where we have no-fault insurance. Things might be different elsewhere?

  16. full.tang.halo says:

    I had an accident with progressive as my carrier, they tried everything under the sun to use sub-standard, 3rd party, and re-manufactured parts to repair my car, and even tried to get me to NOT take my car to a repair shop that was recommended but the local BMW dealership that handled ALL of their customers repairs. Something that should have taken 7-10 days from drop off at the body shop to me picking up my car took over 25 days, 3 trips down to the body shop to inspect the panels that were being replaced, the after-market panels looked like hell and didn’t gap worth a damn. And when it was all said and done the extra cost of using BMW OEM parts was about 300-400 more than the other crap they tried to use. The time and money that they had to have spent with me making their guy go down and take pics of the crappy parts so that he could get them to order the OEM parts had to have cost more than that. Not to mention the additional time spent on the phone with me and my time driving down to inspect the car. Progressive is FTL.

  17. ptkdude says:

    @MonkeySwitch: This is why you never report a claim through the other person’s insurance company. Always file it through your own company. It gets settled faster, and your insurance company deals with the other guy. That’s what you pay them for, month after month.

  18. silver-spork says:

    I spent nearly a year trying to get Progressive to cough up the out-of-pocket expenses they agreed to pay since their driver nearly totaled my car. They spent most of that time trying to get me to sign a waiver that would have waived all of my non-medical rights as well as my insurance company’s rights. Once I told the State Farm lawyers what they were up to and showed them the “standard” waiver that Progressive wanted me to sign, they put the heat on Progressive and I got my check.

    It was my first accident, and I would recommend State Farm.

  19. MeOhMy says:

    Tip for everyone: A phone call and a letter the agency in your state that regulates insurance often helps insurers “solve” whatever “delays” they were having.

    Insurance is pretty much a completely corrupt industry at this point.

    I’m starting to think they should be forced to repay all profits for the year to clients that haven’t made claims. Oh and money paid towards premiums should be earmarked for each client – if you make a claim and it does not exceed the total you have paid to the company, they should not be allowed to raise your rates.

  20. OnceWasCool says:

    I guess Progressive means “those without morals”?

    I do NOT understand how Progressive is still in business. It just goes to show you that people will sell their souls for a buck!

  21. ShortBus says:

    @Troy F.: Not denying that insurance isn’t a racket, but your suggestion doesn’t make much sense. Why would a company take the risk of insuring you if they weren’t allowed to make a profit if their gamble paid off?

  22. revmatty says:

    This isn’t even close to a new development in the auto insurance industry. I was with a big national company in the early 90’s (I don’t recall which one) and was in a very minor accident. The car was considered totalled because it wasn’t worth much to begin with and the insurance company said they wouldn’t give me anything because they weren’t sure I wasn’t at fault. Note that I was rear ended at 20MPH in rush hour traffic. The other person admitted it was their fault. And the traffic cop that saw it happen said it was their fault.

    Fortunately my sister was at the time a personal injury attorney. One quick letter and the insurance company paid up.

  23. MeOhMy says:

    @ShortBus: That’s pretty much the whole problem. A normal business’s intent is to maximize profits. But normal businesses maximize profits by cutting costs and selling more product/billing more hours. Insurance doesn’t sell widgets – the only thing they can truly do to maximize profits is to cut costs and pay out on as few claims as possible.

    That’s all well and good, but it’s getting to the point where pretty much everyone is treated as a potential fraudster, legitimate claims are routinely delayed and/or denied.

    If an insurance company knew that it couldn’t reap a tidy profit on weaseling out on as many claims as possible it might make them start treating their clients like clients instead of criminals.

  24. yg17 says:

    Maybe it’s the religion-hating atheist in me talking, or it’s the poor guy who was sued after an accident by someone who was faking injuries talking, but I have to back Progressive on this one. I don’t think these people should be exempt from investigation because they’re at church. If these people are trying to screw someone else out of money, then they need to be investigated and stopped, church shouldn’t be a safe haven for them. It’s a public place, just like the mall and grocery store are.

  25. MeOhMy says:

    @yg17: You would have to go read the article, but it was a meeting conducted at a member’s home. “This is not ‘Nam…There are rules.” Entering someone’s home under false pretenses in the hopes of catching them in a confession is shady even for the shadiest of dicks.

  26. magus_melchior says:

    @ogman: Guess they took a few pages from the Scientologist lawyers’ playbook.

  27. Dont Know Me? You Are Me. says:

    @ShortBus: Actually, I’m insured through a mutual company; the policy-holders are also owners. The company is actually run to minimize profits (and losses) while still remaining financially secure. You should investigate a mutual insurance company in your area.

  28. Bryan Price says:

    @squikysquiken: So if you have bonehead State Farm, you are at fault for an accident involving me, and they treat me like shit, that’s fine?

    @ptkdude: Good idea. I probably should have done that 30 years ago (yes, this is one fscker that carries a grudge for a very, very long time). My agent at the time kind of hinted at it, but I didn’t follow up. I was a stupid teenager.

    If I ever have to deal with a State Farm adjuster again, I will rip their appendix out of them through their nose. Bare handed.

  29. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Would you be okay if they broke lawyer-client privilege to get evidence as well? By the way, lawyer-client privilege is something that we have held near and dear to our justice system since, I don’t know, the founding of this country…?