Of late, I’ve been receiving phone calls from insureds who tell me they read my blog and are using the information to manage their own claims.
While there are many sources of insurance information on the Internet, it is important to realize that every claim has its own unique circumstances and that just because one person’s experiences were negative, it does not mean that yours will be too. People today are accepting information they find on the Internet as the absolute gospel for their own claims.
We all know the Internet is basically an unreliable source of information, depending on who or what the source is. That old saying, “Well, it must be true, it’s in the newspaper isn’t it?”, clearly is not something anyone would believe today.
Let’s face it. On the Net everyone has a sob story of what happened to them and their claims. This causes many insureds a great deal of angst and anxiety when they begin to imagine what could happen to them. In my opinion, the Internet is little more than the “National Enquirer”. Still, the number of people who call me, worried and stressed out, about what they read on the Net is really getting out of hand.
Information I publish on the blog is not commentary based on just one person’s personal experiences. I write to a GENERIC audience only when I’ve received enough calls to identify a particular issue as trendy, or happening quite a bit. Most of my articles are the result of multiple phone calls, reading letters from insurers, auditing Plans and contracts, conversations with attorneys and physicians and reviewing actual claim files on appeal.
I am licensed, I have a lot of insurance alphabet soup after my name, I have a history of actual claims handling and twenty years of experience. I started the blog to correct the multiple inaccuracies I found on the Internet quite a few years ago.
Therefore, while there is a great deal of inaccurate information on the Internet, insureds can’t go wrong reading this blog overall. However, the information should never be used to manage claims since the articles are written to INSTRUCT, not manage claims.
The information I publish here is about 20% of the total information needed to manage disability claims. But, the important thing for insureds to remember is that each claim is unique and has its own set of circumstances. What happens to one person’s claim is not going to happen to everyone.
When someone says to me, “But, you said on your blog…”, I swiftly remind them that I was not directly referring to THEIR claim. Caution should be taken to not directly transfer claim information found on the Net from someone else’s claim directly to yours. Remember, I’m writing articles dedicated to the ISSUE, not to one person’s claims experience!
There are also “shady” sources of disability information on the Internet as well. A good example is the “Disability Forum” moderated by members of the insurance industry. Unknowing insureds ask questions there, and receive incomplete answers until the moderators are contacted privately for business purposes.
In my opinion, disability claims is an area where the leaders have to “pick a side.” The Disability Forum is full of pretense of assisting private disability insureds, but from an insurance industry perspective. I never cared for that, and left the Forum almost immediately. As I remember it, the Forum didn’t care for me either since I always gave full answers that took the silver spoons from their mouths.
It is never a good idea to blatantly accept information from the Internet as the absolute gospel for your claim. Claims are unique with circumstances that are not often written about, or admitted publicly. No two claims are like.
Save yourself the anxiety and worry and seek out reputable sources of information, starting with a review of your own Plan or policy. “Consider the source” is a good rule to follow.