ISSUE 59, SEPTEMBER 2015
ASK A LAWYER:
Insurance Companies &
Do insurance companies really use private
investigators and other forms of surveillance to
Surveillance requested by an insurance company
and carried out by a licensed private investigator
is permitted. However, there are certain ethical
rules that they must follow. If you feel that you are
being followed in a threatening manner, then you
can report it to the police who may confront the
investigator and advise them to move on.
The surveillance technique is frequently used
in high benefit cases, or where claimants allege
disability based upon either subjective type
conditions or where the objective support is not
indicative of the restrictions or limitations. In
high benefit claims, the insurer is willing to invest
significant money to terminate or deny a potentially
expensive claim. Claimants must be wary not only
of their activity levels while on claim, but of any
statements made to the insurer about their daily
activities. Inconsistencies can be fatal to a claim: the
expression “a picture is worth a thousand words”
holds very true with regard to surveillance.
Can insurance companies view my social media
pages as part of their surveillance techniques?
Those who have profiles on Facebook, MySpace,
Twitter or other social networks, and who are
involved in litigation, should be forewarned that
insurance companies have begun to employ the
Internet as part of their surveillance techniques.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most of us associate surveillance with some sort
of law enforcement effort, but over the years,
insurance companies have relied on surveillance to
help them defeat specific claims. You’re probably
wondering whether or not the insurance company
has the right to do this in the first place? As unfair
as it sounds, the law does allow them to engage in
limited surveillance. An insurance company may
shoot video, take audio or take still photographs
of person anytime they are in a public setting. This
includes common activities like going out to eat or
going out for a walk. These investigations cannot
involve trespassing on private property or any
interception of electronic communications.
Sounds pretty scary, right? Don’t worry, below is a
list of things to keep in mind if you think you might
be under surveillance by your insurance company.
IMMEDIATELY ADVISE YOUR LAWYER
If you believe you are under surveillance, you
should immediately advise your lawyer. You should
call the police if you feel threatened. Do not
exaggerate your limitations for the camera. Do not
get angry or confrontational with the investigator.
Insurance companies routinely conduct a detailed
investigation on a claimant’s background. They do
this by hiring an investigation company to collect
evidence for them. You may be videotaped and your
neighbours and co-workers may be interviewed
about your background, activities and injuries.
Claimants and witnesses cannot be threatened, and
the investigator cannot defame the claimant.
With respect to video surveillance, your insurance
company’s investigator will typically park a
surveillance van near your house and videotape
your activities. The investigator is permitted to
follow your movements, whether you are on foot or
in your vehicle.
Surveillance and the Law: Is
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