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.

New Causes of Action

Another negative is that social media may actually create new causes of legal action. In the medical liability realm, social media spawns potential liabilities. For example, two Wisconsin nurses lost their jobs after snapping cell phone photos of an X-ray showing a sexual device lodged in a patient’s rectum. Afterward, they posted the pictures on Facebook.

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