Surveillance is a frequent tool used by disability insurance companies to try to deny or terminate claims. We often hear from claimants: “I have nothing to worry about, because I am actually disabled. Let them follow me;” “I would know if I were under surveillance;” and “my claim is not worth enough for my disability insurance company to pay to surveil me.” Unfortunately, these common misconceptions about insurance company surveillance all too often result in claimants being stunned that their truly deserving claims have been denied or terminated.
Insurance companies commonly hire professional private investigators to place claimants under surveillance. They employ numerous deceptive tactics to accomplish their goal and claimants almost always have no idea that they are being investigated or followed. We have seen insurance company private investigators dressed in utility company or maintenance uniforms, driving delivery vehicles, and posing as patrons at a store or a jogger on the street. We have also seen insurance company private investigators rent neighboring buildings, gain access to children’s birthday parties and sporting events, and posing as long-lost friends of the claimants to obtain information from neighbors, ex-co-workers, or even family members. Insurance company private investigators are very good at gaining access to claimants without ever being detected. In fact, private investigators very often contact the local police to put them on notice that they will be engaging in surveillance so that if someone calls in something suspicious, the police will not intervene and blow their cover.
Most important, surveillance is often used to deny and terminate legitimate disability insurance claims. Video surveillance is a mere snapshot of a claimant’s life. Insurance companies typically follow claimants on days that they know they will be out of the house, such as when they have a scheduled doctor’s appointment. Insurance companies also know that for many disabled claimants, just getting out of the house is difficult. Thus, very often, claimants will go to the grocery store, pick up their prescriptions, or shop for other necessities on the days that they already must be out of their home. What is not seen on surveillance is the claimant in pain and unable to leave the house for a day or more after or taking additional pain medicine because the minor activity aggravated their symptoms. Moreover, the ability to turn on and off the camera allows private investigators to create the illusion that the claimants they are following are more functional than they told the insurance companies.
Finally, surveillance is routinely used by disability insurance companies, without regard to the amount of the monthly benefit at issue. Insurance companies are businesses. The more claims that are denied or terminated, the more money the insurance companies make. If insurance companies employ their tactics across the board to deny or terminate claims of all sizes, their profitability increases.
Understanding the deceptive tactics often utilized by disability insurance companies can help avoid becoming the victim of a wrongful claim denial or termination.
Disability Insurance Law Group handles cases at all stages of the short-term and long-term disability insurance process. If you have any questions regarding your disability insurance claim, please contact us toll free at 866-363-3628 or via email at [email protected]