‘Worst kind of PR nonsense’: How Progressive botched its crisis response

Tough week for the insurer, as it took a beating online—fueled by the company’s inability to adequately respond to charges leveled against it.

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It seems that at every step in the crisis, the company’s moves were tantamount to bringing barrels of gasoline to an already raging fire. And now at the end of the second week, Progressive’s reputation is taking a big hit.

The crisis for the ubiquitous insurance company featuring big-haired Flo began last week when comedian and writer Matt Fisher wrote a blog post saying that Progressive turned against its client, Fisher’s sister, and defended the driver who killed her in a car accident. Fisher clearly has a way with words, and titled the blog “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court.”

As Fisher tells it, an underinsured driver killed his sister in a car accident. The driver’s insurance company paid out a small claim to Fisher’s sister, but Progressive balked at covering a good portion of the difference even though she had paid for Progressive’s coverage for underinsured drivers. The issue went to court, and Fisher said Progressive defended the at-fault driver even though its client was Fisher’s sister. The reason, presumably, was to avoid paying out a large claim.

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