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Say It Isn’t So, Flo: Lawsuit Alleges Progressive Underpays

Written by Rebecca Barnabi, glassBYTEs.com

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Two New Yorkers filed suit against Progressive Corp. on July 22, alleging the car insurer is underpaying and arbitrarily undervaluing claims by New York policyholders for totaled vehicles by deceptively adjusting the claims process.

Plaintiffs Dominick Volino of Duchess County and John Plotts of Wayne County said “the insurer’s practice to determine a vehicle’s value after a total loss shorts policyholders on what they are actually owed for their lost property.”

 

“When valuing total loss claims for vehicles, it is improper for an automobile insurance company, such as Progressive, to undervalue and underpay the claims by manipulating the data used to determine the actual cash value of the vehicles,” the drivers said.


According to the suit filed in New York on July 22, the practice is contrary to appraisal standards and violates New York law.

 

“Progressive systemically thumbs the scale when calculating the actual cash value of claimants’ loss vehicles by applying so-called ‘Projected Sold Adjustments’ that are: (a) deceptive and unexplained; (b) contrary to appraisal standards and methodologies; (c) not based in fact, as they are contrary to the used car industry’s market pricing and inventory management practices; (d) not applied by the major competitor of Progressive’s vendor Mitchell; and (e) on information and belief, not applied by Progressive and Mitchell to insureds in other states like California,” reads the complaint.


Volino and Plotts estimate more than 100 putative class members exist, and the aggregate compensatory damages claimed by them and the class are estimated at more than $5 million.

 

Volino’s nautic blue metallic 2004 Volvo was declared a total loss after a car accident in January. Plotts’ phantom-black tri-coat pearl 2013 Chrysler was declared a total loss by Progressive after a car accident in September 2020.

 

According to the New Yorkers, Progressive promised to pay them actual cash value to buy replacements.

 

Mitchell International Inc. vehicle valuation reports were used by Progressive during the settlement process, according to the suit. Similar vehicles were compared with Volino’s and Plotts’ totaled vehicles to determine values, however, “comparisons against similar cars that were sold in the month the original vehicle was totaled unfairly...


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