The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make When Filing a Disability Claim (Mistake #8)
After submitting a claim for long-term disability benefits, it is important to keep in mind that your insurer will almost certainly conduct surveillance at some point (and many insurers use surveillance throughout the entire claim). Traditionally, insurers used private investigators and interviewers to conduct surveillance, but ever-advancing technology is providing insurers with even more tools to conduct surveillance, such as social media, online public record searches, and potentially GPS tracking, drones, stingrays, and other electronic methods of tracing your activities more closely and accurately than ever before (depending on whether lawmakers act to curb abuse of these new, emerging technologies).
Ed Comitz’s article “The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make When Filing a Claim for Disability,” published by SEAK, Inc. (2005), details ten of the most significant mistakes to avoid. The excerpt below explains why you should be aware of the potential for surveillance:
MISTAKE NO. 8: Ignoring the Possibility of Surveillance
Insurers are likely to videotape or photograph physicians who have filed for disability insurance benefits. Physicians who engage in any activities that they claimed they could not perform and are caught on tape are likely to have their benefits denied and the contract could be terminated.
Action Step: Physicians should not compromise their policy benefits by submitting a fictitious claim.
If you are considering submitting a long-term disability claim, remember that modern technology enables insurers to harvest information about you from the internet, and remain wary of suspicious situations that may be the insurance company’s investigators using pretexting to obtain information about you (for example, “friend” requests from individuals that you do not personally know may be efforts to gain access to your social media accounts).
Excessive, unnecessary surveillance can rise to the level of bad faith, and too often these types of methods are misused to manufacture “evidence” that insurers take out of context to terminate (and/or delay) benefit payments. If you think your insurer may be misusing surveillance in your claim, you should talk to an experienced disability insurance attorney and he or she can evaluate whether or not the scope of the insurer’s investigation is appropriate.
To learn more about some of the tactics insurers use to deny claims and other mistakes to avoid, click here.