Several insureds called me this past week to fill me in on their experiences with surveillance. One gentleman described surveillance teams following his children for several days in addition to following him. His opinion was that it must be illegal for an insurance company to put tails on his children since they have nothing to do with his policy. I’m not a lawyer so I have no idea whether that’s illegal in any state, but I strongly recommend asking an attorney if it is.
Another insured called to report having a drone flying above his backyard for about an hour. It surprised him to see the drone but remembered two days before he was followed by a very suspicious looking van with blacked out windows. I would think that flying drones over someone’s personal property without permission would also be a violation of the law. One person actually reported to me that he shot the drone out of the air, but of course, I don’t recommend that.
What is extremely worrisome seems to be when large, strong-armed men start banging on doors demanding to be let in for an interview. At least ten people have contacted DCS, Inc. about this happening, 9 women and 1 man. You can imagine how unsettling this is, but we all know not to allow anyone into our homes, particularly those who continuing knocking until you open the door. This situation should always be reported to police.
If the investigators do not see you, they engage in several ruses to determine where you are. These activities always involve phone calls. For example, someone may call asking where you are going to be because they have a package to deliver, or most recently, the ruse seems to evolve around “political surveys” that ask very pointed questions about your health and well being. Insureds actually think they are giving information to political surveys when in fact, it all a farce from insurance investigators. Any interview that asks about your health and physical activities is NOT a political survey!
Internet and social media investigation is still rampant going back three generations of “Friends” to find information about your activities. DCS, Inc. never recommends extensive use of social media when people have claims. And, while I’ve never recommended using insurance “website portals”, I’m finding insureds are still communicating with insurers by uploading and downloading information from an insurance website that also tracks their every move. Engaging with social media while on claim risks your claim!
At the end of last year I called private investigators across the country preparing to write a TRUE-NEWS article on surveillance and found out that private investigators do not use drones in insurance investigation. However, nearly every source said that HUB and G4S are more likely to use such technology, therefore, it’s not out of the question.
Finally, insurance companies such as Guardian, Mass Mutual and the The Hartford are way over the top on surveillance, interviewing neighbors and ex co-workers, spouses and children, and family members. Every one you know, or are an acquaintance of, can be targeted with questions about you and your activities.
Are there any places in America that do not have surveillance cameras or potentially other people recording videos on a grand scale? Stores, grocery store parking lots, red light junctions, ATMs and many other locations have surveillance cameras. Recently, I questioned one of our major grocery stores here in Maine about obtaining a copy of its surveillance tape. All I need do, said the store manager, was to ask for a copy of the CD with date and time, and I would receive it within 30 days. Good to know.
Those insureds who are still saying, “I don’t care about surveillance because I don’t do anything wrong” are not considering the fact that anyone can take a video and interpret it in their own favor. Americans are always on someone’s radar whether they have disability claims or not.
Independent Medical Examinations and surveillance are the top two risk management activities that will likely make insurers a great deal of money in 2020. Insureds are recommended not to just accept these invasions of privacy, but to report them to the local police when they occur.