Filed a Claim with your Disability Insurance Company? Assume Big Brother Is Watching

When you purchased your long-term disability policy, the insurer might have rattled on about the company providing financial security or standing behind you financially when the unexpected happens.  The insurance company probably did not bother to mention that they will likely employ Herculean efforts to discontinue or deny your temporary disability payments or long-term disability benefits as quickly as possible. 

These methods include spying on you in various ways.  An investigator for the insurer might monitor your social media posts, attempt to engage you in a conversation on Facebook, or conduct surveillance of your daily activities.  If you find this type of conduct intrusive and unfair, especially when conducted by a company that has been receiving premium payments for years, you are right to feel violated.  Unfortunately, the insurance carrier has every right to continue violating your privacy in this manner.  If you file a claim with your disability insurance company, you should always assume “big brother” is watching!  Because our Florida Disability Insurance Claims Law Firm receives many inquiries from outraged policyholders about these intrusive tactics, we have provided answers to common questions.

Can disability insurers conduct video surveillance at any time or place they desire?

While you are protected from the intrusion of an insurance investigator sneaking into our home with a video camera, the insurance company essentially has free reign if you are out in public.  This means that the insurer can video you shopping, dining out, visiting the gym, attending class, and engaging in similar activities.  The insurance company also might be able to take video footage of you in your own business, but you might have privacy protections against this type of conduct depending on the specifics of the circumstances.

Are they allowed to conduct video surveillance in secret?

Insurers can and usually will discretely engage in such surveillance so that you are unaware that you are being captured on video.  If you are on public streets, businesses open to the general public, or even the front yard of your home which is visible from the street, the insurance company usually can place you under video surveillance.

What types of activity do the investigators attempt to capture on film?

While there is no specific conduct the investigator is trying to record, the basic objective is to capture images of the insured engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with his or her disability or that otherwise contradicts information or statements provided by the insured.  Insurers have used video of policyholders engaging in such diverse physical activities as dancing under the limbo stick on a cruise or engaging in routine gardening in the front yard.

Who are the people that conduct this video surveillance?

Generally, the insurance company does not use its employees to conduct video surveillance.  The insurance carrier will contract with an outside company that specializes in conducting video surveillance for disability insurance claims.

Can I avoid potential problems with information on my Facebook or other social media pages by keeping personal information secured in password protected areas?

Many people presume that disclosures, photos, and video clips in areas on social media pages that are designated as “private” are free from snooping eyes. The reality is that posting in so-called “private” areas provides essentially no real protection from insurance companies.  During litigation of insurance claims disputes, judges are increasingly granting insurance carriers access to the logins information and passwords of so-called “private areas” on social media pages. 

Insurance investigators might even attempt to conduct conversations with you via instant messaging while pretending to be someone else.  The best advice is to avoid all social media activity while your disability insurance claim is pending.  If you do not want to forgo using social media sites entirely, you should at least discuss this issue with your Miami insurance claims attorney to mitigate the risk of furnishing the insurer with the information it needs to deny your disability claim.

If you have questions about long-term disability claims, you are invited to contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Miami disability insurance claims attorney.  My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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