Insurers are using Social Networks to Deny Claims

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Updating your profile and adding pictures to Facebook may seem like innocuous behavior, but it can sometimes have devastating consequences. In the latest twist to social media, insurance companies are monitoring Facebook and other social media sites looking for excuses to deny claims.

A woman from Quebec, Canada recently found out the hard way how posting vacation pictures on Facebook can interrupt payments related to a medical leave at work. After reviewing documentation, including her Facebook postings, Manulife Financial stopped issuing disability payments to the woman. The insurance company apparently determined this was evidence she no longer suffered from depression. She is suing Manulife claiming the company did not speak with her physician or notify her that the payments would be stopping. The case is scheduled for trial in January 2012.

The insurance industry claims healthcare fraud costs in the U.S. are nearly $80 million each year, so insurance companies are often looking for any excuse to deny claims by alleging fraud. Insurers are now using social media against their own customers. According to a recent report by Celent, eight out of the 10 top U.S. insurance companies use social networks and social media in their businesses.

Most people try to present themselves in the best light possible. They may even downplay the seriousness of their condition to avoid worrying family and friends. People often joke or use sarcasm in online postings. Insurance companies might still use these statements against policyholders to deny a claim. Los Angeles insurance lawyers remind you that the next time you apply for an insurance policy or file a claim, keep in mind that your Facebook page and Twitter feeds may be carefully scrutinized by your insurance company.


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