Filing a disability insurance claim can be a complex process. While every case has unique challenges, many of the most common problems arise when the claimants make mistakes during and after the filing. No matter how simple or straightforward your case, don’t expect your insurance company to simply grant your claim and payout.
Instead, they’ll likely take every opportunity to challenge it and deny your benefits. Traditionally, insurance companies have conducted surveillance upon claimants to gather evidence that challenges their credibility to limit (or even nullify) their claim.
Today, insurers also use social media to investigate disability insurance claimants. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of your online posting when filing a disability insurance claim.
Can Insurance Companies Spy on Your Social Media Accounts?
We use social media for different reasons – to build and increase business connections, to keep up with the latest trends and news, and to stay in touch with family and friends.
Insurance companies use it increasingly to confirm or refute disability claims. This means that anything posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms may be used as evidence against you.
Considering the huge amount of money at stake, insurance companies employ investigators to follow claimants as they go about their daily activities. This includes taking note of photos and comments they post on social media.
For example, posting your vacation pictures on Facebook and Instagram can be fodder for suspicious insurers. LinkedIn posts may also create a false impression that a claimant is continuing to work while they claim to be disabled.
Sometimes, insurers even use archiving tools to restore deleted information on social media. Not surprisingly, many of these posts are misconstrued by disability insurers. For example, you attend your best friend’s wedding and mostly sit in one place through the event, owing to your disability. Your friend requests a photo and you somehow muster the energy to stand up and smile. If the insurance investigator sees the photograph, they may assume you’re perfectly fit to attend a party and, so, aren’t disabled.
Social Media Dos and Don’ts to Maintain Privacy
While it’s best to not post or comment on social media sites while your claim is pending, if you must, follow these tips.
- Set your social media accounts to private. This means that only your friends can see your posts, not ‘friends of friends’ or ‘public’.
- Be careful about what photos you’re being tagged in. When someone tags you in a photo on Facebook, it’s visible to the audience it’s shared with and the friends of other people tagged in the photo. Remember that photos and posts hidden from your timeline will still be visible to these people in other places on Facebook, such as in newsfeeds and searches. Review photos and posts you’re tagged in before they show on your timeline by turning on timeline/tag review.
- Make yourself virtually invisible by removing your account from Facebook search results by choosing “friends only” under search visibility in your profile settings. You can also remove your profile from Google by unchecking the Public Search Listing box in your Internet Privacy Settings.
- All social media sites have a geolocation feature that shows anyone where you are and what places you’ve visited recently. Turn this off, unless you want your insurance company to know your whereabouts. For instance, if you went out for dinner with your family and drank mocktails, investigators may try to prove that you were drunk and enjoying yourself.
- Old vacation photos that were taken and posted before the onset of your disability should be date stamped so your insurer doesn’t assume it’s a recent vacation.
- Don’t send texts or emails to anyone except your disability lawyer regarding your claim, its status, or your health. Never discuss anything with anyone regarding your disability, even if someone asks. If a friend or loved one asks you about your health on social media platforms, never say “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” While this might be a comforting answer, to an insurance company this could mean you’re unsuitable for disability compensation.
- Anything you post online is highly searchable. Even a simple, seemingly innocent post may be used to reject your claim. Avoid posting anything on message boards, commenting on disability-related blogs, or participating in online discussion forums about insurance or claims-related issues.
Insurance companies create a ‘history of behaviour’ out of your everyday social media activities to substantiate their doubts about your disability and invalidate your claim. If you’ve been denied disability benefits or anticipate that your claim may be rejected, consult an experienced disability lawyer immediately. They’re experts at handling such cases and can advise you about your claim’s viability as well as the dos and don’ts of social media conduct.