Progressive Funds Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Investigation That Nets 110 Arrests and 66 Recovered Vehicles

State's 4th Largest Auto Insurer Works Together with Law Enforcement

to Capture Thieves, Recover Vehicles



Nov 28, 2001, 00:00 ET from Progressive Corporation

    PITTSBURGH, Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Progressive Corporation (NYSE:   PGR),
 one of the nation's largest auto insurance companies, today announced a
 successful end to a multi-year vehicle theft and insurance fraud investigation
 it funded. The investigation, conducted by the Pittsburgh Police Department
 and The Allegheny County District Attorney's office, ended today and netted a
 total of 110 arrests and the recovery of more than 66 stolen vehicles.
     Progressive's Special Investigations Unit (SIU), a countrywide team of
 more than 170 professionals dedicated to investigating and prosecuting those
 involved in insurance fraud, provided $10,000 and two "bait" cars to the
 operation which targeted individuals who "gave up" their vehicles and those
 who were stealing, then selling, vehicles. Individuals who give up a vehicle
 are said to do so because of the ridiculously low price they charge someone to
 buy it. They, in turn, report the vehicle stolen and collect the insurance
 money.
     The money put up by Progressive gave local law enforcement the funding
 they needed to make the vehicle purchases from unscrupulous individuals. The
 $10,000 enabled undercover officers to purchase approximately 66 stolen
 vehicles valued at nearly $1 million. The donated bait cars enabled law
 enforcement to catch car thieves in action. The operation resulted in the
 arrests of 62 individuals.
     Earlier this year, the operation also led to the arrests of 44 tow truck
 drivers and four operators of D&D Auto Salvage. D&D paid tow truck drivers to
 bring stolen cars to the salvage yard. D&D then crushed them illegally and
 made a profit selling the metal to scrap yards.  Records for more than 700
 crushed vehicles have been confiscated from the yard and are under
 investigation.
     "Our customers tell us they want lower insurance rates," said Vince Coyne,
 Special Investigations Unit Manager for Progressive. "One way we can help to
 keep the cost of insurance down is by helping local law enforcement in
 operations like this. This operation sends a clear message to people in
 Pittsburgh:  If you want to make a living stealing cars or operating chop
 shops, you're not going to do it here."
     "Auto theft has been a major problem in Pittsburgh. From January to August
 of this year, nearly 2,600 cars were stolen in the city," said William Mullen,
 Assistant Chief, Pittsburgh Police Department.  "As a result of this
 operation, the auto theft rate has dropped 29 percent overall and 80 percent
 on the weekends. We could not have conducted an investigation like this
 without our brave undercover officers and funding from companies like
 Progressive."
     According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), insurance fraud
 costs Americans over $20 billion year.  A recent survey of 31,000 people
 conducted by Progressive, revealed that nearly one in ten of Americans would
 be willing to commit insurance fraud if they knew they would not be caught.
     Coyne said:  "Consumers should be outraged by insurance fraud because it
 costs each of us over $200 every year in the form of increased insurance
 premium. The goal of our Special Investigative Units (SIUs) is to help keep
 the cost of auto insurance down for all consumers by fighting fraud. Consumers
 can help too by being aware of fraud and willing to report it."
     Consumers who wish to report fraud can call the National Insurance Crime
 Bureau at 1-800-TEL-NICB (835-6422).
     Progressive (NYSE:   PGR), headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio, is the
 nation's fourth largest auto insurance company.  In business since 1937, the
 company provides all drivers with competitive rates and 24-hour, in-person and
 online services. The company sells its products over the phone at 1-800-
 PROGRESSIVE(SM), online at progressive.com, and through more than 30,000
 independent agencies throughout the U.S. More information about Progressive
 can be found at www.progressive.com .
 
     Contact:  Courtney Neville
               Progressive
               440-395-3032
 
                        MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                  http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X77371262
 
 

SOURCE Progressive Corporation
    PITTSBURGH, Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Progressive Corporation (NYSE:   PGR),
 one of the nation's largest auto insurance companies, today announced a
 successful end to a multi-year vehicle theft and insurance fraud investigation
 it funded. The investigation, conducted by the Pittsburgh Police Department
 and The Allegheny County District Attorney's office, ended today and netted a
 total of 110 arrests and the recovery of more than 66 stolen vehicles.
     Progressive's Special Investigations Unit (SIU), a countrywide team of
 more than 170 professionals dedicated to investigating and prosecuting those
 involved in insurance fraud, provided $10,000 and two "bait" cars to the
 operation which targeted individuals who "gave up" their vehicles and those
 who were stealing, then selling, vehicles. Individuals who give up a vehicle
 are said to do so because of the ridiculously low price they charge someone to
 buy it. They, in turn, report the vehicle stolen and collect the insurance
 money.
     The money put up by Progressive gave local law enforcement the funding
 they needed to make the vehicle purchases from unscrupulous individuals. The
 $10,000 enabled undercover officers to purchase approximately 66 stolen
 vehicles valued at nearly $1 million. The donated bait cars enabled law
 enforcement to catch car thieves in action. The operation resulted in the
 arrests of 62 individuals.
     Earlier this year, the operation also led to the arrests of 44 tow truck
 drivers and four operators of D&D Auto Salvage. D&D paid tow truck drivers to
 bring stolen cars to the salvage yard. D&D then crushed them illegally and
 made a profit selling the metal to scrap yards.  Records for more than 700
 crushed vehicles have been confiscated from the yard and are under
 investigation.
     "Our customers tell us they want lower insurance rates," said Vince Coyne,
 Special Investigations Unit Manager for Progressive. "One way we can help to
 keep the cost of insurance down is by helping local law enforcement in
 operations like this. This operation sends a clear message to people in
 Pittsburgh:  If you want to make a living stealing cars or operating chop
 shops, you're not going to do it here."
     "Auto theft has been a major problem in Pittsburgh. From January to August
 of this year, nearly 2,600 cars were stolen in the city," said William Mullen,
 Assistant Chief, Pittsburgh Police Department.  "As a result of this
 operation, the auto theft rate has dropped 29 percent overall and 80 percent
 on the weekends. We could not have conducted an investigation like this
 without our brave undercover officers and funding from companies like
 Progressive."
     According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), insurance fraud
 costs Americans over $20 billion year.  A recent survey of 31,000 people
 conducted by Progressive, revealed that nearly one in ten of Americans would
 be willing to commit insurance fraud if they knew they would not be caught.
     Coyne said:  "Consumers should be outraged by insurance fraud because it
 costs each of us over $200 every year in the form of increased insurance
 premium. The goal of our Special Investigative Units (SIUs) is to help keep
 the cost of auto insurance down for all consumers by fighting fraud. Consumers
 can help too by being aware of fraud and willing to report it."
     Consumers who wish to report fraud can call the National Insurance Crime
 Bureau at 1-800-TEL-NICB (835-6422).
     Progressive (NYSE:   PGR), headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio, is the
 nation's fourth largest auto insurance company.  In business since 1937, the
 company provides all drivers with competitive rates and 24-hour, in-person and
 online services. The company sells its products over the phone at 1-800-
 PROGRESSIVE(SM), online at progressive.com, and through more than 30,000
 independent agencies throughout the U.S. More information about Progressive
 can be found at www.progressive.com .
 
     Contact:  Courtney Neville
               Progressive
               440-395-3032
 
                        MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                  http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X77371262
 
 SOURCE  Progressive Corporation