- Dean Smith
Social Media Searches Crack Down on Car Insurance Claimants
We often speak of using social media, or in ICU terms, Internet Profile Reports, to document the activities of workers’ compensation claimants. But these searches not only benefit workers’ compensation carriers, but car insurance carriers, as well.
Kristin Campbell of CarInsurance.com says, “A bragging tweet, an incriminating bit of video on YouTube or a few unfortunate friend connections on Facebook can expose a lie or even a crime. It’s no wonder, then, that police – and insurance investigators – are watching.” We are always watching.
And as we all know, most people can’t stop posting incriminating things about themselves on these social platforms, making it easier to monitor and ultimately, easier to pinpoint daily activities and habits of claimants, turning it into evidence.
The New York Police Department charged a driver that posted a video of himself completing a Grand Theft Auto-esque spree around Manhattan in 24 minutes (a record), accompanied by an interview on a popular auto site as he bragged that “he couldn’t be caught.” He was caught, by traffic cameras that traced his joyride all the way back home. His car was impounded and he was charged with reckless driving among other offenses. If convicted, those reckless driving charges will surely jack up his premiums, big time.
According to Penny Gusner, CarInsurance.com consumer analyst, “anything that turns up in the course of an investigation could ultimately affect your driving record or the status of a claim.”
Another example tells a story of an 18-year-old man who was arrested this past August in Dublin, California in connection to the death of a bicyclist. During the course of the investigation, incriminating information, specifically Tweets about his need for speed, pushed prosecutors to change his charges from manslaughter to murder.
These types of investigations also apply to claims, including Facebook connections between suspects of staged accidents. Or someone claiming to be a victim of a hit-and-run accident, but their own Facebook posts prove that their daughter crashed the car. Also, geotagging on photos posted on social media can reveal where and when a photo was taken. So if a claimant lied about where they were during an accident or how it happened, the photo they just uploaded to Twitter may uncover the truth.
We are ALWAYS watching.