Insurance Companies Use of Surveillance to Deny a Disability Claim
Insurance are for-profit enterprises. As such, their first goal is to protect the bottom line—their profitability. If they have shareholders or investors, their goal is to keep the value of the company as high as possible. On top of this, it is estimated that fraud costs insurers billions of dollars a year. Given these realities, it is no shock that insurers may revert to many tactics to deny or rescind a claim made against a policy, even to the level of surveilling a policyholder with a disability claim. Indeed, if you make a claim under an LTD policy, you can expect the insurance company to use every means to question and challenge your stated disability. One way they can do that is to use various means of surveillance to show that you are not as disabled as you say you are.
If your LTD claim has been denied, or your benefits later rescinded, in or around Chandler, Arizona, contact the disability insurance attorneys at Arnett & Arnett, PC. We have more than three decades’ experience in fighting insurance company's bad faith tactics and will help you assert your rights to the benefits you deserve. We proudly serve clients in Chandler and the rest of Arizona, including Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Set up a consultation today.
Is Surveillance Legal?
For the most part, yes. Insurers can surveil and track you wherever you are in public places. They just can’t track you inside your home—unless you give them permission. One of the tactics used by insurers is to send a representative to your home.
They’ll knock on your door and say, “I’m here to discuss your insurance claim.” If you let them in, they can observe your behavior. If it doesn’t match the disability for which you’re claiming benefits, they can indeed use that against you. Don’t let them in without first contacting your attorney.
Even if the insurer doesn’t go to that level of surveillance, though, they can still track you as you go about your daily life. They can follow you into stores, churches, gyms, movie theaters, and anywhere else so long as there is no expectation of privacy. They can snap photos, take videos, write down notes, and even make audio recordings. For instance, if you claim that a back injury prevents you from lifting anything weighing more than five pounds, and they record you lifting a two-year-old grandchild in a public park, they might be able to use that to deny or cancel your benefits.
Other Methods of Surveillance
In addition to stakeouts (in which someone waits outside your home to follow you) and field visits (in which they knock on your door), you can also be vulnerable to anything you do online. Social media is obviously a huge factor in everyday life, and people are creatures of habit. They will post anything positive in their lives.
Say you’re out on disability for which you claim you can barely stand or walk. Suppose you post a video online of you dancing at your daughter’s graduation or wedding. Unless your social media is entirely private, the insurance company can and will monitor your online activities. That post could cost you your benefits.
It's best to take a break from social media or to moderate anything you post to make sure your LTD provider has no reason to suspect you of disability fraud. Also, if someone suddenly wants to befriend you on social media, be wary. They could be an agent of your LTD insurer. They can then use private messages to query you about your activities and condition.
Another method is tracking your doctor’s appointments. The insurer may even request an independent medical examination (IME) to verify your claimed disability. This exam will be with an insurer-paid physician or group.
If you don’t show up to that appointment, that can be a warning signal. Even if you do show up, the insurer may assign someone to track you on the day of the appointment to verify your condition. They may also track you on the way home to see if your behavior suddenly changes once you’ve “passed” your IME.
Compassionate and Skilled Legal Counsel
We at Arnett & Arnett, PC have extensive experience with insurance companies. We have worked both sides of the aisle, so to speak, even representing the big insurers at one point in time. We know how they operate and the tactics they use.
If you are facing a denial of your LTD claim, or the cancellation of benefits you’ve been receiving due to surveillance or other tactics, contact us immediately. No matter where you live in Arizona, we can help you launch an appeal using the full exercise of your rights under the law. If warranted, we may also be able to launch a lawsuit to protect or restore your rights to benefits.