I Think We’re Alone Now: Surveillance and Disability Insurance

I Think We’re Alone Now: Surveillance and Disability Insurance

When you apply for long-term disability, the insurance companies want to be able to deny your claim or terminate your existing benefits. Ultimately, they do not want to pay you if they can avoid it. So they will try to disprove your claim or discredit you directly. There are a few different ways that a denied claim can be argued against or that existing benefits can be revoked. One such tactic is a relatively controversial one: surveillance.

Surveillance is a technique that’s used in a lot of long term disability (LTD) cases. It’s often used in cases where the claimant alleges that their disability is based on subjective symptoms or self-reported symptoms. Surveillance may be invoked for conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or carpal tunnel syndrome, to list a few. It’s also used in cases where the objective support the claimant is able to obtain doesn’t seem to adequately connect with their limitations or restrictions.

So what happens when you’re under surveillance by your insurance company? In most cases, the company will hire a private investigator to surveil the claimant for a few days. There are, however, ethical rules that these investigators and the insurance companies are obligated to follow. For instance, if you feel that you are being followed in a threatening manner, you can report it to the police who can intervene on your behalf. They can legally follow you, however, they are not permitted in any way to trespass on private property or make you feel as if you or your family are in danger.   

Other techniques insurance companies may employ involve sending a representative identifying as a rehabilitation consultant to your house. They will, in most cases, either stop by unannounced or at a scheduled time to speak with you. Their job is to try and figure out what your activity level is by watching you in that situation. They’ll try to determine if you’re working, or they’ll try to collect information the company can use against you. In these instances, it is so important to know your rights. You can dictate the terms of these appointments, either insisting on confirmation of the interview or having a witness of your own present during the encounter to help avoid distortion of the facts later on.

But there are ways for insurance companies to keep an eye on you that don’t involve physical surveillance at all: social media. The insurance companies will absolutely be keeping an eye on your social media presence. Photos on Instagram, videos on Facebook, check-ins on Twitter. Everything can be used to help them build their case against you to disprove your disability or limitations.

There are many different ways an insurance company can surveil a claimant. Some methods are more invasive than others, but it’s so important to remember what your rights are in these situations, and when you can say no. Being aware of the situation is of the utmost importance and, at Share Lawyers, we aim to be as transparent as possible. We want to make sure you’re making educated, knowledgeable decisions, and that you are kept aware of the details surrounding your case and how the insurance company may follow-up every step of the way.


Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Standard Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and much more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.