Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Surveillance: Now Is The Time

Many arguments can be made for the seasonal use of surveillance. Do you get better results doing surveillance in the Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter? In our 2011 Investigative Services Trends Survey we asked over a thousand adjusters when they assigned the most surveillance and the results may not be what you think. 4% said fall, 7% said Winter, 8% said Spring, 35% said Summer and a surprising 46% said Other. The majority of the adjusters say that assigning surveillance does not depend on the season as much as it depends on when they get the claim and where they are in the process. Season is a bi-product of when the claim needs the most attention. In best case scenarios many claims handlers  believe that certain seasons can yield better results when it comes to getting activity on their subject.  It can be argued that activity is not reliant on the whether or not snow or rain or leaves are falling but that with the right investigator something can be found. The ideal time to get video of your subject is to get them at their "peak activity level". This peak level is different for each of us, it depends on multiple factors. Lets take a look at a case study on the best way to determine when is the right time.

Case# 2154811-3A
In this case study we take a look at a younger claimant born in the 80's and previously working a warehouse job. Now taking an initial look at the subject a typical 6 to 3 or 7 to 4 surveillance might make sense because of the nature of the job that the subject worked. Upon closer study of this particular case we see that the subject worked second shift for over four years for our client and was currently out due to low back issues. The interesting note that the investigator noticed on this case was that not only was the subject a repeat offender, often being out for several months and then returning to work, but it seemed that the subject would get injured during the late fall season. Several factors always go into determining the best time to do surveillance. A good investigative company should look at age, job responsibilities, shift time, race and any other factors that can determine when is the peak activity level for this claimant. In this case study the investigator hypothesized that there must be a reason why the injuries seem to always happen during the fall. Was it an injury while playing sports, could there be a reason why the claimant needed the winters off, or was it all just coincidence?

After a couple of days surveillance capturing video of the subject running errands carrying groceries and getting in and out of vehicles in a fluid motion the investigator was convinced that this subject was not injured. NSIU lead investigators decided to switch it up to see what was the subject doing at night, was it a fall softball league, or was the subject bowling at night? On a snowy afternoon the lead investigator on the case decided to take a chance on a hunch and see what type of activity the subject may be doing. To the investigators surprise the subject loaded up his truck full of salt, shovels and a snow blower and proceeded to plow and clean sidewalks through the night. These are actions that would have never been captured on video if it were not for the lead investigator removing the mold of the 7 to 4 surveillance case and working the case intelligently. Is your investigative resource doing the same?

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