Filed Under:Claims, Education & Training

Social Media Awareness

Claims Adjusters’ New Arsenal

If 2011 has a catchphrase, then it may be, “There’s an app for that!” For many insurance professionals fighting fraud and noticeably exaggerated claims, there is a new application (app) of sorts in the form of social media. Adjusters can use social media as a tool to combat claimants’ allegation of damages. For example, if a bodily injury claimant moans about severe disability and alteration of lifestyle because of an insured event, then social media can provide evidence to either verify or disprove those allegations. It is not unheard of for claimants asserting serious injuries to post Facebook pictures and status updates depicting various physical activities that undermine the credibility of disability allegations. If a claimant or plaintiff is foolish enough to leave his or her social media privacy settings such that they allow virtually anyone to view personal posts, then this becomes a legitimate area ripe for claims investigation and legal discovery.

Social media’s popularity is a mixed blessing for insurance companies and claims organizations. Many managers and executives fret about the time wasted by claims adjusters trolling through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or tweaking their online resumes on LinkedIn.

Claim departments are increasingly using Facebook postings to challenge disability allegations. For instance, one Canadian woman learned the downside of oversharing the hard way. Nathalie Blanchard’s insurer cut her disability claim after spotting photos on her Facebook page. Blanchard had been receiving disability benefits for alleged psychological depression. Nevertheless, she posted on her Facebook page photos of her fighting off her “depression” by ogling a male strip-tease “Chippendale” show, sunbathing on the beach, and happily celebrating her birthday. Armed with the photos as evidence, the disability insurer—Manulife—was not amused and consequently terminated her benefits. Blanchard had been on disability for depression for about a year after working for IBM. One might say that she may be even more depressed now.

No “LOL-ing” Over Claim Denials

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