Progressive Insurance Responds on Snapshot

By Karen

In March, I told you about driving around with Progressive Insurance’s Snapshot® device in my car, being monitored for 30 days, only to qualify for no discount on car insurance.

I snail-mailed the link to that post to Progressive’s president and CEO, Glenn Renwick. As you might expect, my letter was kicked to the bottom of the org chart to a “consumer relations specialist” I’ll call Susan.

Susan filled a page with boilerplate babble that didn’t address my concerns, which were:

1. Why does Progressive collect information they claim not to need?

2. What does it take to qualify for a discount if driving only about 50 non-rush-hour daylight miles total, a few days a week, doesn’t?

Susan opened with…

I’m writing on behalf of Glenn Renwick… Thank you for your letter and for taking the time to share your concerns.

Off to a great start, addressing my “concerns” with the usual empty corporate yada yada yada.

She went on to non-explain…

When you sign up to test drive our Snapshot® program, we display rapid acceleration in the overview of your driving habits, but it isn’t used in the calculation of your discount. We also don’t factor turns into our calculation.

She utterly failed to address WHY Progressive collects information it doesn’t need.

Finally, she got personal…

Snapshot® considers overall driving habits including miles driven, time of day, and the overall number of hard braking events. We define a hard brake as a decrease in speed of 7 mph/second. You had 25 hard breaking events within the 215 miles you drove during your 30 day trial. Your results didn’t yield a discount in our Snapshot® program. While we encourage our customers and potential customers to try the Snapshot® program, we don’t guarantee a discount.

She failed to acknowledge how seldom and little I drove, and that my braking behavior resulted in my not hitting anything. With Progressive, stopping for ANY reason must constitute bad driving.

She closed with…

I’m sorry for any frustration you’ve experienced… and gave her phone number in case I “have questions.”

“ANY frustration?” Didn’t my letter to the CEO give them a HINT?

This pathetic non-response didn’t resolve anything, and I stand by my belief that Progressive’s discount program is a sham, and anyone would do well to avoid it, if only to dodge the incessant online advertising it generates.

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7 Responses to Progressive Insurance Responds on Snapshot

  1. annie pelfrey says:

    you can’t make this stuff up-holy moly!

  2. catsworking says:

    Annie, one of the reasons I opted out of corporate life to go freelance was behavior like this. Too many people collect paychecks just for showing up and non-performing: Renwick in being “too big” to respond to a prospective customer’s inquiry (or even have someone write the response for him, above his signature), and the peon for churning out the same nonsensical corporate line they spout on YouTube that doesn’t even seem to be true.

    This experience with Progressive has made me even more leery of any sales pitch by anybody. Corporate America is out to get all of us full throttle, and there’s no such thing as a deal that doesn’t work to Big Company’s benefit and consumer’s detriment, even if it’s only to plague you forevermore with incessant advertising featuring some garish, empty-headed wench like Flo.

  3. Hi Karen! Makes us wonder if the letter would be that monotone if you were a very bad driver, like: “On June 2, 2014, I see you had pushed your foot on the accelerator to catch up to your ex-husband and then stomped on the brake and accelerator, and shifted from drive to reverse and back to go over said person. In light of these findings, you do not qualify for a discount, as you shift gears and stop-and-go too frequently. If you still have concerns, please contact me ! Happy Driving!”. Susan. Ha-Ha! Give the kitties a big hug from Mom and I! Love, Tuxi

  4. catsworking says:

    Hey, Tuxi! Long time no see! Welcome back.

    Good point. If my driving had been horrendous, I wonder if I’d have gotten a response at all, or if they’d have just reported my license plate to local authorities so I could be picked up on my next moving “violation.”

    What frosts me is HOW they expect drivers to know they’re braking harder than “7 mph/second.” WHO came up with that calculation for perfect braking under all circumstances? What are we supposed to do, ride the brake for a mile to gently roll up to every light and stop sign — and likely get rear-ended (or, at the very least, shot the bird) at every intersection?

  5. Zappa's Mom says:

    So the Snapshot thingy is like a mini-Big Brother stuck in your car somewhere? Thats so…fucking…creepy…..I wonder just who gets a discount this way? And what exactly does a discount mean?

  6. catsworking says:

    ZM, the Snapshot thing looks like an oversized USB drive and it plugs in somewhere under the dash, below the steering wheel. I know, I didn’t realize there was a plug there either, but there is.

    Progressive advertises as much as 30% savings, but who knows how much that is when you may never know the base rate?

    In my case, Snapshot results said I qualified for 6%, but after I filled in all the irrelevant and intrusive personal information (home ownership marital status, education, etc.), it revoked the 6% and said I qualified for zilch. So it would seem my actual driving had nothing to do with the outcome.

    The more I think about it, the more slimy the whole deal was. And Progressive’s handling of my letter just puts them squarely on the pile of all other insurance companies. These days, I can barely sit through a TV ad with Flo spouting bullshit without gagging.

  7. FAW says:

    You’re back in form……sorry episode……hang tough….. U NO HOO

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