What to do when they knock on your door

Claimants are vulnerable to the men and women who come to their homes for what are politely called "Field Visits." After weeks, months or years in the isolation of disability, the idea of a visit from an adult who is interested in their condition seems like an opportunity to have a friendly chat. But that's the last thing on the field representative's mind.

Field investigators are hired guns, professionals who are paid for their interviews and reports, and whose only loyalty is to the insurance company. They are hired for their deductive and analytical abilities. They may seem friendly and genuine, but any field visit should be seen for what it is - an information gathering session, no different than an EBT - examination before trial.

Consider the conversation that would take place between a field service representative and a home-bound individual being treated for a debilitating and chronic condition. Chances are the disabled individual is on medication or may be in a state of chronic pain that makes clear thinking difficult.

Compare the disabled individual to the field representative - who is being paid an average of $1,000 for each home interview and who has a skill set that is rewarded by finding reasons for the insurance company to deny a claim. The claimant doesn't stand a chance. Field reps are masters at using the same kind of tactics as hard-driving sales people - leading questions, getting agreements in a series that lead to a conclusion, matching behavior, pretending to be peers and even friends. And don't forget about the "observations" these field representatives will form about you based upon the way your home is kept, or your ability to sit with them for any extended period. It's a shoddy situation. Some may call it sleazy. We call it deceptive and unprofessional.

If you are on claim and a field rep knocks on your door, tell them that you require at least 30 days notice from the insurance company itself before agreeing to a meeting at your home. Here are a few other pointers:

• Your policy may not require you to meet with a field representative.
• Don't believe their verbal assurances that "it's okay for us to talk." It is not in your best interest.
• NEVER meet with a field representative without a family member, trusted friend or your attorney present.
• Do not answer questions from a field representative without the assistance or representation of an attorney.
• If you are too sick to have an interview, contact your attorney and your primary care physician and have them write a letter stating that your condition does not allow for such an interview. Work with your attorney to make sure it addresses any requirements from your long term disability insurance contract.

Just like the scam artists who prey on the loneliness of the elderly, the field representative uses their knowledge of your situation as an isolated individual to obtain the information that will, if at all possible, be used against you. And given the skill set of the field representatives, it would be hard for them to leave your home without something that can be used to deny your long term disability insurance benefit.

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