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15 August 2012

The Progressive snafu is not what you think it is. [More:]

In Maryland, when you buy an underinsured motorist policy, you are not actually buying insurance for yourself. Instead, you are effectively buying an insurance policy for anyone who may happen to hit you. That includes their legal representation if it goes to court.

The idea is that people too poor to carry more than the minimum insurance still have access to some recourse rather than getting totally trounced in court. Mandating that drivers buy underinsured motorist policies, as Maryland does, is effectively a tax to ensure that the poor get a fair hearing. Should you think this is a conflict of interest, consider that the same insurance company represents both the plaintiff and the defendant quite often. Two drivers sharing the same insurance company is not an unusual scenario whatsoever.

If you want direct coverage against the underinsured, you should simply boost your regular policy.

Conservatives have been trying to kill mandatory underinsured/uninsured policies since their inception.

Matt Fisher, the blogger whose sister was killed, is a writer/actor for GBTV. That is, Glenn Beck's GBTV. I will let you put the rest of the story together for yourself.
So Glenn Beck had Fisher's sister killed in order to fight mandatory underinsured motorist policies?

But seriously, Progressive seems to be following the SOP for insurance companies, which combined with exceptionally bad PR and the awkwardness of contributory negligence makes for a real shit-show.
posted by mullacc 15 August | 07:27
underinsured motorist policy

As long as we allow people to drive cars that cost more than my house, and medical bills to be in the millions, we're all underinsured motorists.

My solution: Ban cars that cost more than $30k and get less than 60mpg and socialize medicine already!

I'm popular with Republicans.
posted by cjorgensen 15 August | 08:53
Are you sure that's right, Ardiril? My understanding is that it protects you against uninsured/underinsured drivers, beefing up their coverage for your benefit.

You also hire your own attorney in accident cases, to get as much out of the insurance companies as possible, whether by settlement or trial. There are generally no up front fees to the attorney; they take a hefty percentage (30% is standard), of the judgment instead, which is worth it, since you generally get a much larger settlement or award with an attorney.
posted by Pips 15 August | 09:10
I will let you put the rest of the story together for yourself.

How gracious of you.

The Progressive snafu touches on a lot of things, the biggest of which is the contributory negligence doctrine, which is illogical, impractical, and unjust. That's why almost every state has moved away from it. For insurance lawyers, though, it's a paradise.

This particular case is undeniably a PR nightmare. It also appears to be a conflict of interest, specifically because of the contributory negligence doctrine held in Maryland. That it is routine doesn't make it right.

It may also be part of a teary-eyed Glenn Beck campaign to end UM/UIM requirements, but that certainly doesn't preclude it from being about these other things as well.

I'd be down with cjorgensen's car-banning idea, along with big government investment in buses and trains, and yeah, socialized medicine. Also fewer insurance/pharmaceutical TV commercials.
posted by Hugh Janus 15 August | 09:15
Oh, don't worry. I'm still libertarian enough to oppose mandatory policies like what Maryland has. However in my book, transparency trumps ideology. I think it is important that people know that this case is solidly rooted in liberal legislation.
posted by Ardiril 15 August | 11:12
The one issue that bothers me most on that case is that the Progressive response directly denied being in the courtroom representing the other driver while Fisher specifically named a Progressive-employed lawyer present in the defense team. So somebody's lying. Big time. Since Fisher is a Beckster, it certainly could be him - that gang has been known to brainstorm ways to turn personal tragedy into big-time political points. Especially with a company called Progressive.
posted by oneswellfoop 15 August | 14:07
Happy birthday to gomichild!! || I need a house cleaning game plan. Help me out?