At the 2017 California Workers’ Compensation and Risk Conference, a panel discussed using social media as a claims investigation tool and also the importance of performance metrics in evaluating your program. The speakers included:
- Steve Cassell – President & CEO, Command Investigations LLC
- Andy Olwert – President, Next Level Administrators
- Beth Savelli – Risk Manager, Swissport USA
Social Media Investigations
Statistically speaking, 85% of people in the U.S. are engaged in some form of social media – be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or something else. Because of this high penetration, there is a good chance your injured workers are using social media. Some of the problems with traditional social media investigations are that they are based on historical data, looking backwards. The activity level of the injured worker before their injury is not relevant to the status of the claim today. However, the technology today includes monitoring software developed by the military and law enforcement to monitor the social media activity of individuals on an ongoing basis. The technology scans their networks constantly searching for activity and actually can predict potential future physical activity based on past social media activity. Then traditional surveillance can be scheduled based on that anticipated future activity. The monitoring not only includes the injured workers’ accounts, but the accounts of related individuals. For example, the injured worker may not be active on social media, but their significant other may be posting materials involving them. With social media monitoring, one employer noted a 250% increase in impactful surveillance. They also noted that it took 2.2 days less surveillance per claim to produce the successful surveillance.
While you cannot perform investigations on private social media accounts, connected accounts may not be private. For example, the injured worker may have a private account, but their friends may not and could be tagging them in their posts, which would be visible to the general public.
Some people do not use their actual names for their social media account. However, you can often track them down using private e-mail addresses or cell phone numbers since these items are usually linked to the social media account.
There are certain red flags that may warrant considering surveillance:
- Early attorney representation.
- Soft tissue injury.
- Claim open for more than 90 days.
- Unwitnessed accident.
- Alleged injuries not consistent with the accident.
- Accident occurred on Friday or Monday.