Coming to the UK soon, courtesy of UNUM!
One of our clients called today to report a Unum surveillance which caused her to be fearful. Although we frequently think of “surveillance” as taking place in a Van or Mini Van, interestingly, this Unum investigator used a Toyota Tundra (a large-sized truck) with blackened out windows. From what the insured reported to DCS it would be a reasonable guess the surveillance was attempted by G4S or The Hub – professional investigators.
The surveillance investigator was viewed by the insured as a “man in black” since it appeared he was also clad in black clothes. What immediately drew the attention of the insured, as she left her home, was that the truck had a giant black sun visor (one that pops open) clearly visible on an overcast day of 30 degrees.
Also visible, as described by our client, was a “long shiny black thing sticking out of the window pointed at me” which she thought looked like a gun – and that’s when she became extremely fearful and decided to do something about it. The surveillance device “did not look like a camera as we know it”, the insured reported.
The insured stood in front of the truck, took a picture, and yelled “stop filming me now.” Once she was able to see the investigators face, she remembered seeing him previously.
In retrospect she remembers him turning quickly onto her street the day before. Interestingly, our client also reported the investigator was dressed in black, had a goatee with glasses and didn’t have the scruffy appearance usually associated with private investigators.
Scared, the insured located her gardener and asked him to come with her to witness the surveillance. At one point the gardener walked up to the truck and asked the driver to “stay away and leave.” According to the report the driver did not put down the window and at one point looked extremely angry his attempt at surveillance had been foiled!
As previously reported on Lindanee’s Blog, Christmas and holidays are target surveillance times for Unum and other insurers who may be looking for a reason to deny claims quickly before the end of the year. Unum, in particular now hires outside professionals to conduct their surveillance, and from the reports we have, these guys are technologically up-to-date and push the boundaries of private trespass.
What is interesting about this particular incident is the description of the “shiny, long black thing” given by the insured which did not resemble a video camera at all. If anyone has any suggestions about what kind of technology that is, please let me know. I’m certainly going to make a few calls to local investigators and see if I can find out.
I am very aware of how scared insureds can feel during surveillance activity. Insureds can also call their local police and request them to intervene and ask the investigators to ‘move on.” This insured was really shaken by the experience, but was able to expose the surveillance when it scared her.
Sometimes I wonder where insureds get their courage, but this insured stood her ground. Good for you!