Beware of These 3 Sneaky Insurance Company Surveillance Tactics
Keeping long-term disability benefit applicants or recipients under surveillance is one way insurance companies try to avoid paying disability claims. And unfortunately, it works pretty well. Every year, insurance companies deny disability benefits using surveillance evidence.
Conducting surveillance allows insurance companies to save thousands of dollars a year. So they will look for evidence that contradicts your disability claim, and you may be surprised how far an insurance company will go to collect that evidence. Below, we discuss insurance company surveillance tactics used to deny long-term disability benefits, and what you can do to protect yourself. To learn more, contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today.
1. A Background Check May Be in Your Future
Insurance companies typically hire an outside, third-party investigator to conduct a thorough background check about you. He or she will take the information, compile a report, and submit it to the insurance company. The background report may contain some or all of the following.
- Where you live
- Who you live with
- The type of car you drive
- The type of car driven by others in your household
- Any property registered in your name
- Businesses registered in your name or your spouse's name
- Any active licenses and permits
- Your criminal history - including driving offenses
This information might be just the beginning of insurance company surveillance tactics. The report filed with the insurance company may provide the basis for further investigations.
2. Smile: You're on Camera
Another tactic insurance companies use is video or photo surveillance. An investigator will sit outside your house and watch your activities for two or three days. They will observe you to see how often you leave the house, where you go, and what you do. They may even follow you by car. They're looking for anything that may contradict your disability claim. The investigator will make notes about the following:
- Whether or not you have difficulty moving
- If you were using a cane or a brace
- How long you were out of your home and who you were with
- Whether or not you carried anything
- Whether you drove and how long you drove
- How you were dressed, i.e. heels or sneakers
These are just a few of the things an investigator will look for. Again, any little bit of information that could be used to deny your claim is of interest to the insurance company.
3. Your Online Profile Is an Open Book
It's common for employers to check your social media accounts and now insurance companies are jumping on the bandwagon. It's easy to look at what you've posted and they can check your activities. There is a surprising amount of information about you on social media, especially if you're a heavy user. An investigator may search one or more platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. They'll note anything that might be valuable to the insurance company including:
- Your profile picture
- Employment status
- Relationship status
- Recent posts
- Pictures showing where you've been and what you were doing
- Your comments and the comments of others
It cannot be said strongly enough. The insurance company is looking for anything, no matter how small, they can use to deny your long-term disability claim. One of the difficulties with social media is your posts do not necessarily reflect your day-to-day life. It is unlikely you would include photos of yourself struggling to get out of bed, or walking with a cane or other assistance device, and no one can tell if you're in pain just by looking at a photo.
Another online tactic is to use a search engine such as Google to find information about you such as personal or business web pages or blogs, comments you've made, photos, or other content about you.
How to Protect Yourself Against Insurance Company Surveillance Tactics
There are several things you can do to support your case and prevent your benefits from being denied or discontinued.
- Be aware that you are more likely to be under surveillance if you have a claim-related appointment scheduled. Your appointment may include an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or an interview with an insurance representative.
- Always be aware that anything and everything you post on the Internet or your social media accounts are open to review by insurance companies — and anyone else. It's a good idea to be cautious anytime you post something online.
- Check your social media accounts' privacy settings. If you change your privacy settings, it may be more difficult for an insurance company to check your personal information.
Learn More About Insurance Company Surveillance Tactics
For more information about insurance company surveillance tactics or about how you can protect yourself, contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today.