The president of Progressive Insurance issued a written apology regarding a story that appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about an investigation authorized by Progressive in August 2005.
The article reported that two private investigators posing as a couple entered a private support group at Southside Christian Fellowship Church in hopes of catching two church members, Bill and Leandra Pitts, in a confession that might discredit the pair who had been involved in an ongoing lawsuit with Progressive over a traffic accident.
Progressive President and CEO, Glenn Renwick said in the written statement: “When I read that story I was appalled and, frankly, didn’t believe that it could possibly be accurate. I have since learned that the essential facts in the story are correct. What the investigators and Progressive people involved in that case did was wrong—period. I personally want to apologize to anyone who was affected by this incident.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s article, the private investigators even tape-recorded the sessions.
The Pitts filed a lawsuit filed last week in Fulton County Georgia State Court and names Progressive Northern Insurance Co., the insurers’ lawyers and investigators James Purgason Jr. and Paige Weeks of Merlin Investigations as defendents.
The lawsuit claims there was an invasion of privacy, breach of confidentiality, emotional distress and fraud among other issues due to the tactics of the investigators and seeks unspecified damages.
“The actions of the investigators and Progressive people involved in this situation were incompatible with our Values and inappropriate,” Renwick said.
“On behalf of the 28,000 hard-working Progressive people and the more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies that choose to represent us, I want to assure all of our customers throughout the country that we remain committed to doing the right thing. We know that we were wrong in this situation and we take full responsibility for the mistakes that were made,” Renwick’s apology continued.
“Obviously, we wish that what happened two years ago had not happened. And, we believe that it wouldn’t happen today with the written guidelines we put in place more than a year ago that prohibit any type of misrepresentation in conducting investigations. Those guidelines have been widely communicated internally and we now audit to ensure compliance,” Renwick added.