It has never occurred to me that insureds, especially those who are considering retaining my services, conduct investigations of me, suspiciously trying to challenge my credibility.
Not once in the last 20 years have I ever pulled a credit rating or checked out any insured’s social media prior to bringing them on a client. I don’t know why I never considered the possibility of “internet stalking” of me, but surprisingly it’s not the insurance industry who’s stalking me, it’s insureds!
First, let me say that I get it – I’m just a voice on the phone, or someone who writes a blog. Still, if you search my name on the Internet, there are listings every where. It’s hard to imagine that a 20+ year career in disability claims management has done nothing but make me invisible to those who are looking for new information. A certain amount of “due diligence” is normal and expected, but I found out a few things recently that seem a little odd.
First, I found out that because I have an answering service, people find “that’s suspicious.” Because of the blog and the numbers of calls I get every day, in my mind at least, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any calls and had an opportunity to speak with persons who take their time to contact me. Still, at least one person told me that because I have an answering service, “I was suspicious.” The person who said this then kept calling the answering service demanding information about DCS, Inc. including my tax information. Boy, do I know how many of you feel when the insurance companies investigate you!
Another person asked me to provide the names and numbers of several neighbors, my town hall, and a local attorney, who could verify I’ve lived in my town and house for the last 20 years. They weren’t comfortable not knowing this. Someone also wanted me to call an attorney I’ve worked for before and have him call to verify I am who I say I am. A Consultant needs to draw the line somewhere and I refused the last two requests. The next comment was “You’re a scammer!” Really?
Then, there’s the issue of my Facebook page which is not used for business purposes, and in fact, I shut down any claim discussion that begins there. My Facebook page contains several of my art projects that probably rate somewhere between, “Not so bad” but “not good either.” Still, in my spare time I like to paint with Acrylics and sometimes post my pictures on my Facebook – the only credible use of social media in my opinion. In the future, I may post a few of my short stories and poetry there, but someone may think I’m a writer and not a Consultant……well, can I be both?
Finally, I found out that people access satellite views of my house, property and cars parked out front. Gee, I think the current satellite view isn’t up to date because the lilac bushes are still there when I had them removed several years ago. Is this getting a bit silly or what?
Somehow I thought that my knowledge and experience in claims management made me immune to this kind of thing. I am always willing to provide references to insureds. I guess I never expected this kind of investigation from the very people I’m trying to help. Does it seem reasonable that the insurance industry finds me more credible than the people I’m helping?
Anyone who wants to ask me questions can call me, and if they are reasonable I’ll answer them. References are always available. It’s not necessary to find my house on the satellite is it? Just call and ask.
I can really relate to how my clients feel when they call me to say they noticed surveillance in their back yard. It doesn’t feel right to me, although I’m sure insured’s will continue to investigate the Consultant to make sure I’m who I say I am.
If I were asked right now I’d have to say this sounds a bit more like stalking than investigating. What do you think? Where do you think the line is between investigating my experience and credentials as a Consultant versus looking up the color of my house, and demanding my neighbor’s phone numbers?
In my opinion this type of investigation by insureds is way over the top.