gators should expect their methods and
proof to be carefully examined. For ex-
ample, when deposed, insurance inves-
tigators should be prepared to answer
questions such as:
• Did you employ a fake online
profile to access this information?
• Was the subject induced to disclose
• Was the subject being profiled,
or was there an improper bias
toward the claimant?
• What is your training and level of
experience in conducting such searches?
• What is the carrier’s methodology
to verify the sourced information?
Some of these questions may have
merit while others may not; however, the
plaintiff’s true intention in this type of
deposition may be to agitate or further
explore a carrier’s claims investigation
process. Carriers should anticipate questions concerning how their social media
investigations are stored, who has access
to the findings, and what, if any, training
the carrier provides to its employees.
The questions may also be more technical than normal inquiries. Motion
practice and objections to certain questions will continue to permit counsel to
litigate the discovery request using the
rules of court. However, with the advent
of electronic discovery in the federal
courts, it is important to prepare to answer these questions or proffer someone
who can. Technology can help overcome
many of these challenges through intelligent case management systems.
Analytics-based referrals are on the rise.
The industry is increasingly moving to-
ward a more data-driven SIU investiga-
tion for several reasons: Richer data sets
are available, technology allows for faster
processing of information and analytics
Likewise, the industry’s adoption of
data analytics helps better focus SIU
investigations by catching fraud either
before it starts or in its early stages. De-
spite these technological advances, both
methods may be subject to discovery.
As we incorporate more technology into
the SIU investigatory framework, carri-
ers should prepare for the eventuality of
having to answer challenging questions
regarding these technologies within the
In many ways, social media has created
an alternate universe in which SIU inves-
tigators can immerse themselves to better
verify claims, and there is no shortage of
outlets to explore. Facebook, Instagram,
LinkedIn, Snapchat, You Tube, blogs and
other forums are examples of the net-
working sources available. No longer a
generational phenomenon, social media
usage continues to expand among users
of all ages. New applications and sites ap-
pear almost daily, creating yet more land-
scapes to investigate.
With so much information available,
the responsibility to conduct an ethical
investigation is critical—especially given
the wide spectrum of retention periods
that require strict adherence. The documentation and reasoning behind investigations must be clear and without bias,
and process review prevents procedures
from becoming outdated.
If vendors are to perform these services, expectations should be clearly communicated, and the relationship should
be seamless with a clear understanding of
how the investigation will be conducted.
When it comes to litigation, investi-
Technology’s role in insurance continues to grow and its impact on special investigation unit (SIU) investigations has helped to make them more efficient and effective. The advent of social media
allows carriers to gain personal insight into claimants and surrounding
circumstances to better investigate claims and make decisions.