Recently I wrote about how insurance companies often engage in shady surveillance tactics. A recent story shows what lengths they'll stoop to, and the stupid arguments they'll make to deny disability insurance benefits.
The claimant, Rocky Whitten, broke his neck. Three of his doctors determined that he was permanently disabled. Despite this, The Hartford hired a private investigator to follow and videotape him. The surveillance did not catch him digging ditches or playing football. The videotape captured him...eating chips and salsa in a restaurant. From this "damaging" video, The Hartford had its own doctor conclude that because Whitten could use his hands to eat chips, he was capable of sedentary employment, and denied his entitlement to disability benefits he paid for under the policy.
Not suprisingly, Hartford reversed its position when ABC News broke the story and exposed Hartford's sleazy tactics and downright stupid legal position.
This story shows what efforts insurance companies will go to when it comes time to pay benefits under disability insurance policies, even in cases where claimants are legitimately and seriously injured. Companies like The Hartford figure that they have nothing to lose by using desparation surveillance tactics.
Although the article didn't say exactly when The Hartford decided to secretly video its own insured, typically insurance companies use surveillance after they take the deposition of their own insured. They will ask insureds at their deposition detailed questions as to what they can no longer do, and then hire the investigator to follow insureds in an attempt to "catch" them doing activites inconsistent with their deposition testimony.
So, if you have an injury or disability claim, the most likely time you will be followed or videoed is about two to four weeks after your deposition is taken. Just so you know....