It’s understandable to think that insurance companies sending people to follow you while considering your ERISA claim only happens on TV dramas. In fact, it is surprisingly common.
What kind of surveillance can they do?
With today’s technology, surveilling people is easier than you’d think. In terms of expenses for the insurance company, paying a small team of people to surveil you for a few days or weeks is only a fraction of what they would pay out if your claim is approved.
Forget the old movie scenes with an unmarked van parked outside your house for days. Surveillance is now a matter of a single person wearing a micro-camera concealed in their clothing and following you around as you go about your day.
They will also monitor your social media accounts to build evidence against you. Photos of you at the park, at a wedding or even you comfortably walking down the street will be noted. Even the frequency of your posts can be used against you.
What they can’t do
It is illegal for them to conduct surveillance inside your home or place of business if you are still working in some capacity while your claim is considered. But any public space is fair game, including your church.
How they will use this against you
When you submit your ERISA claim, you’ll likely have to provide a written or in-person deposition, stating in detail how your condition prevents you from working. Using that information, the insurance company will attempt to catch you in the act of doing activities that contradict your deposition.
They know full well that disabled people have good days and bad days. But their goal is to pay out as little as possible, so they’ll edit together a highlight reel of you running errands, doing yard work or playing with your kids, seemingly happy and healthy.
If the people they hire know what they’re doing, you’ll likely never realize that you’re being watched, but if you notice people that are obviously following or stalking you, call the police.
How you can defend yourself
You shouldn’t have to spend your good days hiding and pretending to be incapacitated. And you certainly shouldn’t exaggerate your condition for show. Your best defense is conclusive documentation from your doctor explaining your condition and why you are unable to work.
If that’s not enough, enlist the help of an experienced ERISA attorney. They will have a counterstrategy for anything the insurance company throws at you.