Perspective

Social Media - A Mine of Claims Information

January 10, 2012| By John Butler | P/C General Industry, General Liability | English

When we think of investigative claims techniques, what usually springs to mind are grainy photo images taken during covert surveillance. In fact, claims experts today are more likely to start their investigation on the Internet, before reaching for the telephoto lens.

That’s because claims experts increasingly tap social media networking resources when researching claimants for information relating to their claims.

There are over 200 widely used social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and LinkedIn. Facebook alone has more than 800 million active users worldwide, with more than 350 million people accessing it through a mobile device.

A great deal of personal information is posted to these social networking sites, and it can be used to provide further confirmation of the damages or injuries being claimed, assisting a claim professional to establish a proper reserve and move a claim towards resolution.

But comments or even pictures sourced from social media sites can sometimes be at odds with statements made by a claimant and such valuable information can help reveal a fraudulent claim.

In a recent California workers’ compensation case, the claimant’s Facebook page revealed his scheduled participation in a bowling tournament, complete with the date, time and place. Armed with this information, old-fashioned surveillance proved to be much more successful.

In another case, a social media search provided proof of a claimant’s side business that was not previously disclosed.

Of course, Internet sleuthing is no substitute for standard investigative methods. Claim professionals should always take measures to ensure that all their actions are legal and ethical. But it is clear that used properly, social media is an effective claims management tool and one that should be embraced.

Find out more about social media insurance claims in our Insurance Issues research publication.

 

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