Surveillance Tactics Used by Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies is almost universally a frustrating experience. Some might call it a necessary evil. While most regard insurance companies as difficult, many are surprised to learn how far these companies will go to avoid paying claimants.

Insurance companies often conduct surveillance of people who file claims to try and find some reason or excuse to deny the claim. For injured claimants who only want the financial help they have been promised, this might feel like a major violation of privacy. Insurance companies might hire private investigators, obtain video footage and photos, or even contact your friends and family and ask them about you. In long-term disability claims, insurance companies might continue their surveillance efforts even after a claim has been approved to continue looking for excuses to cut your benefits short. Surveillance does not occur in all cases. Usually, insurance companies might monitor claimants’ activities if the claim is very large or fraud is suspected. While surveillance is generally legal, you should contact an attorney if you think your rights have been violated.

Contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates by calling (215) 515-2954 and ask our disability lawyers for a free review of your claim.

How an Insurance Company Might Conduct Surveillance of Insurance Claimants

How an insurance company might conduct surveillance of a claimant varies from case to case. Sometimes, surveillance is minimal, and the claimant might not even notice they are being monitored. In other cases, the surveillance is far more extensive and lasts much longer. People sometimes notice they are being watched. Our disability lawyers can help you if you believe you are be monitored by an insurance company.

A common surveillance strategy among insurance companies is to send out private investigators. An insurance company might hire a private investigator, although many larger companies have their own teams of investigators they can dispatch. The investigator might tail the claimant for a while and make notes about their activities. Often, they are looking for anything that can grab onto that shows the claimant might not be as injured as they claim.

Another strategy is to obtain photos and videos of you. These might come from the private investigators sent by the insurance company or other sources. For example, if the insurance company knows you have a gym membership, they might send the investigator to the gym to take pictures of you working out. They might even ask the gym for access to security camera footage.

Another possibility is that an insurance company investigator might contact people who know you, like your friends, family, and neighbors. They might get calls from the insurance company asking about your condition. Not everyone is open about their injuries or disabilities, and someone close to you might accidentally say the wrong thing and hurt your chances of getting your claim approved.

You might be offering up all the information the insurance company wants without realizing it. Insurance companies often check social media accounts for information they can use to deny a claim. Avoid posting anything online while your claim is pending, and make your accounts private.

Surveillance From Insurance Companies for Long-Term Disability Claims

Insurance companies often want to look into people filing claims for long-term disability benefits, as these types of claims can be very expensive for insurance companies. People who claim long-term disability benefits receive payments over extended periods of time. Many live on these benefits for years, and some rely on them indefinitely. As such, insurance companies are more likely to conduct surveillance in the hopes that they do not have to pay.

Surveillance might occur before and after your claims are approved. Before your claim is approved, surveillance might be aimed at finding evidence of fraud. Surveillance that continues after your claim is approved might be aimed at finding evidence of fraud or excuses to reduce payments or terminate benefits. If the insurance companies believe you have recovered, they might try to end your benefits.

Home visits are possible when someone is receiving long-term disability payments. While these are standard practices among insurance companies, you should still think of them as surveillance. When the insurance representative enters your home, they are looking for anything they can use to reduce your payments or terminate your benefits. If they see signs that you have recovered and lead an active life, they will absolutely report it to the insurance company.

Why Do Insurance Companies Surveil People?

Insurance companies might conduct surveillance of claimants for the same reason they do almost anything: to save money. If they can deny you, they save money. As mentioned, one of the biggest concerns among insurance companies is fraud. Insurance fraud is common, and insurance companies are constantly looking for potential deception.

Certain kinds of claims tend to raise red flags for insurance companies and might be more likely to be monitored or surveilled. Common cases involving surveillance include but are not limited to, subjective symptoms, chronic conditions, and very large payouts. If you have a subjective claim, like emotional damages or psychological distress, or your claim is unusually large, the insurance company will likely send someone to conduct surveillance.

You should speak to an attorney about how to protect yourself. Many people who file honest, good-faith claims are denied because insurance companies misinterpret their observations during surveillance. You should make all social media private. Insurance companies will likely check your online presence. Even something as simple as a picture of you and friends out to lunch might make the insurance company think you are not as injured as you claim.

Keep close friends and family members informed about your condition. If the insurance company contacts them, you do not want them to inadvertently say the wrong thing because they do not know about it.

Follow your doctor’s orders. Ignoring medical advice does not necessarily indicate fraud, but it might look bad. To the insurance company, a person who is truly hurt would follow their doctor’s advice to the letter.

Finally, talk to an attorney if you believe an investigator has crossed a line. While surveillance is not always illegal, it might become illegal very quickly. For example, if an investigator enters your property without your knowledge or consent, they are trespassing. It does not matter if the insurance company sent them to collect evidence of fraud. They cannot break the law to get what they want.

Call Our Disability Attorneys to Discuss Your Insurance Claims

Contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates by calling (215) 515-2954 and ask our Pennsylvania disability lawyers for a free review of your claim.

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