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My Sister Insurance to Defend Her Killer in Court.

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Presentation on theme: "My Sister Insurance to Defend Her Killer in Court."— Presentation transcript:

1 My Sister Paid @Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer in Court

2 Overview O The Accident O Automobile Insurance O Underinsured Motorist Coverage O The Lawsuit O Matt Fishers Tumblr Blog O Progressive Response O Business Problem and Repercussions O Key Stakeholders O Arthur W. Page Principles O Discussion Questions 2

3 The Accident O Kaitlynn Fisher (Katie) was killed, on June 19 2010, by Ronald Hope when his car collided with hers while driving through an intersection. O Evidence of Fault? O Baltimore Police crash reconstruction expert O Katies Passenger O One written, independent eyewitness account 3

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5 Automobile Insurance O Why settle? O Nationwide, Hopes insurance company, paid the full liability insurance limits ($25,000). O Progressive, Katies insurance company, paid $100,000 in liability claims under Katies main insurance policy. O Katie Fishers policy O Fault O No fault O Under-insured 5

6 Underinsured Motorist Coverage O The Fishers sought additional relief from Progressive under Katies underinsured motorist coverage O Underinsured motorist coverage provides compensation to the injured party of a car accident when the at-fault party lacks sufficient insurance coverage to compensate the injured party in full for his or her injuries. O Hope was considered an underinsured motorist 6

7 Underinsured Motorist Coverage O Under Maryland law, in order to receive the benefits of an underinsured motorist claim, it must be determined that the other motorist be at-fault. O Maryland state law also uses contributory- negligence, meaning Katie is barred from any recovery if she is found even 1% at-fault for the accident. 7

8 O Progressive refused to pay the Fisher family the underinsured motorist claim, citing that the 100% liability requirement was not proven. O Progressive did attempt to settle the case with the Fisher family numerous times, but according to Matt Fisher, never offered more than 1/3 of the full $75,000. 8 Underinsured Motorist Coverage

9 The Lawsuit O The Fisher family ultimately rejected Progressives settlement offers in favor of proving that Ronald Hope III was 100% at fault O The Fisher family hoped that if a court ruled in favor of Katie, they could use that ruling as leverage to force Progressive to pay the full-underinsured motorist coverage. O Progressive Insurance intervened as an Interested Party and was granted an allowance to intervene as a party Defendant. 9

10 The Lawsuit O Progressives Insurance attorney, Jeffrey Moffat, sat with the Nationwide Insurance attorney at the Defendants table throughout the duration of the trial. O On August 9, 2012, the jury ruled in Katies favor and awarded the Fisher family $760,000 in damages, $100,000 of which to be paid by Progressive 10

11 Matt Fishers Tumblr Blog (Monday August 13, 2012 10:00am EST) 11 O At the trial, the guy who killed my sister was defended by Progressives legal team. O If you are insured by Progressive, and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay you your policy. O Fallout: O Post goes viral overnight O Public turns to twitter to express outrage

12 Progressive Response (Tuesday August 14, 2012 2:00pm EST) 12

13 13 Progressive Twitter Response Team

14 Social Media: Round 2 (Tuesday August 14, 2012 ???) O @ Progressive Blog response to outrage. O To be very clear, Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant in this case. He was defended by his insurance company, Nationwide. - Claims General Manager O Matt Fishers second Tumblr post: O I am comfortable characterizing this as a legal defense. 14

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16 Business Problem and Repercussions O Progressives decision-making process and communication strategy which caused the publics loss of trust and goodwill. O More than 1,000 customers claimed to have dropped Progressive as their insurer. O Decrease in revenue and sharp decline of stock price. 16

17 17 Source:

18 O Social media changes the way Progressive must approach its legal, economical, and ethical decision-making process. O Progressive legally not at fault, but social media allowed customers to interact with one another, sharing opinions and harming the companys reputation. 18 Business Problem and Repercussions

19 Key Stakeholders Direct Indirect 19 O Matt Fisher O Fisher Family O Ronald Hope III O Progressive O Shareholders O Maryland Jurisdiction O Customers (Current and Future) O Media O Competitors

20 Arthur W. Page Principles O Tell the Truth: Progressives delay in its response and aggressive response when they finally did makes one question how truthful and transparent they are. O Prove it with Action: Progressives actions proved that it cares most about following policies while disregarding the better ethical decision. O Listen to the Customer: Progressive did not act quickly or adequately when customers started questioning its actions. 20

21 Arthur W. Page Principles O Manage for Tomorrow: Progressive did not consider that their behavior will lead to reputational damage and potentially constrain future growth and revenue potential. O Conduct Public Relations as if the Entire Company Depends on it: Progressives robotic response and the blog post stating they did their contractual obligations creates significant questions of the companys corporate values and commitment to brand image. O Realize a Companys True Character is Expressed by its People: The actions of Progressives employees confirmed a company that cares more about policies than its customers. O Remain Calm, Patient and Good-Humored: Given the emotional taxing story, Progressive alienated customers by seeming hostile and unemotional. 21

22 Discussion Questions O What do you think Progressive can do to regain trust with the consumer? O What do you think are the long-term effects of Social Media on Progressives legal, moral, and economic decision-making process? What role does communication play into that strategy? O Do you think that Progressive could have responded to the Social media outrage in a better way? O Do you think that Progressive could have handled its interest in the lawsuit in a better way? 22

23 Class Room Activity The dos and donts of social media communication O Imagine you are a communications adviser to Progressive (or one of the other insurance companies) and your boss asks you to create a social media policy handbook. Create a list of at least ten dos and donts as they relate to communicating online through social media. O Think about the take-away lessons The Future of Digital Media lecture has provided to those communication officers working through social media channels? 23

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