Your insurance company IS watching and IS more sophisticated than ever.
Have you ever felt like you were being followed? Your instincts may have been right.
Insurance companies spend millions of dollars every year to spy on their disabled claimants. They conduct these thorough investigations to deny claims or terminate existing benefits. Anything they find may be used against you.
The insurance company will typically hire an investigator to conduct a thorough background and surveillance check. In other words, the investigator’s sole job is to stalk you.
Most common types of surveillance and investigative searches
The investigator may conduct numerous types of surveillance and investigative searches on you.
These most commonly include:
- Video surveillance
- Photographic surveillance
- Internet searches
- Social media searches
- Public record searches
Claimants are typically most unnerved by the video surveillance – and rightly so. The insurance companies frequently rely on the video surveillance to deny or terminate benefits.
Sneaky Investigator Tactics
As if that weren’t bad enough, the investigator may even lie or pose as someone else to get closer to you. We have seen this happen numerous times.
In our experience, we have seen investigators:
- Follow claimants with video cameras for days.
- Speak to a claimant’s doorman.
- Follow a claimant into a grocery store.
- Approach and talk to a claimant’s neighbors.
- Follow claimants’ car for hours.
- Pose as a potential customer in a business owned by a claimant’s spouse.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to be aware that someone may be following you at all times.
When surveillance is most likely to be conducted
While the insurance company may follow you at any time, there are certain times where it is most likely to occur.
We typically see insurance companies conduct surveillance around claim-related appointments. These claim-related appointments could include IMEs or interviews with insurance representatives.
It’s like shooting fish in a barrel for the insurance company since they know exactly when and where to find you during your claim-related appointments. Many times, the claimant is taped physically driving or walking to claim-related appointments, only to have the insurance company use this as evidence against him.
The insurance companies will also conduct surveillance in the weeks preceding and following these appointments. Therefore, you should be especially mindful of your actions when you have claim-related appointments scheduled.
What is the insurance company looking for?
In short, the insurance company is looking for a reason to deny or terminate your claim.
- First, insurance company will look for evidence to suggest that you are capable of working. For example, you file a claim alleging disability because you cannot lift more than five pounds and you have trouble walking. The insurance company may look for evidence to suggest otherwise, such as videos of you carrying groceries out of store. They will use this evidence to argue that you are capable of working.
- Second, insurance company will look for evidence to suggest that you are actually working. For example, your spouse owns a company and you occasionally take work messages for your spouse. The insurance company may argue that you are actually working for your spouse’s company.
- Lastly, the insurance company will look for evidence to contradict your statements or your doctors’ statements. For example, you or your doctor told the insurance company that you let your professional license lapse since you cannot return to work. However, an investigative internet search reveals that you just renewed your professional license.
Your social media accounts do more harm than good
In today’s day and age, we also remind our clients to be mindful of their social media accounts. A simple web search may be all it takes for the investigator to find damaging content.
- You post an undated nostalgic photograph of you on vacation from a few years ago. The investigator may assume that you are still going on vacations.
- You post a photo of you lifting or holding your child. The investigator may use that as proof that you can perform heavier lifting.
- You post about how you went out for dinner last night. Your post doesn’t mention that you had to leave early due to your condition, or that you were uncomfortable the whole time. Nonetheless, the investigator may assume that you are well enough to go out to dinner without any issues.
Tightening your privacy settings may not be enough. Our best advice is to abstain from actively posting or to shutdown social media accounts entirely.
We protect you from unreliable surveillance and investigative evidence
Our firm works in various ways to prevent and attack unreliable surveillance and investigative evidence.
- First, we will alert you when surveillance is most likely to be conducted so that you are prepared.
- Second, if the insurance company obtains damaging evidence, our firm will thoroughly review it and develop strong arguments against its reliability. We also may ask you to review and comment on the evidence. Witness statements may also help obtain witness statements to bolster the severity of your symptoms.
- Lastly, if you are scheduled for a personal interview with an insurance representative, our attorneys will prepare you by meeting with you first.
You may rest assured that Riemer Hess will take every preventative and active measure to protect you and your disability benefits.