BALTIMORE - What would my insurance company think about this? Do you ever ask yourself that question before posting something on Facebook or Twitter? Maybe you should.
Kurt Nordland never thought photos he posted on his Facebook page would create such huge problems.
The pictures show him drinking a beer and relaxing at the beach. It turns out investigators from the insurance company paying his worker's comp benefits were watching his Facebook account.
Soon after the photos were posted, the insurance company canceled his payments, cut of his medical benefits and Kurt had to delay surgery to repair torn cartilage in his shoulder, "I was extremely surprised they could just go on your Facebook and pull these pictures out."
What happened to Kurt is happening more and more. Insurance companies are snooping on social media. Depending on your privacy settings, they could see every tweet or Facebook photo. If insurance investigators think you're dabbling in risky business you could pay higher premiums.
Like in Kurt's case, if they think you're faking an injury, you could face coverage cancellation. Kurt's attorney says this is becoming standard practice in the insurance industry, "If they find anything that's embarrassing or anything they can use to paint you in a bad light that's when it shows up in the case."
The Insurance Information Institute says some companies do monitor people's social media pages, mostly to find potential fraud, which makes everyone's premiums more expensive, "Insurance fraud costs the insurance industry and consumers about 30 million dollars each year."
They hire someone, like Steve Davis, a Private Investigator. He says the first place he looks are social media accounts. He found pictures of one guy apparently pulling kids around on an ATV, while collecting disability insurance for an injury.
Another woman was tagged in photographs taking helicopter flying lessons. She was apparently off work for severe injuries, "If you're going to claim that you have a severe injury and you post pictures of you doing something crazy then shame on you! You shouldn't have those pictures on there and shame on you for committing insurance fraud."
The insurance industry says it will continue to watch and if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to worry about. Kurt says he was honest and medical records prove it. Now he recommends everyone be cautious about what you post on Facebook, a lesson he learned, the hard way.
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