The next time you post something on your Facebook or Twitter account, you may want to ask yourself: what would my insurance company think about this?
For insurance companies, it's all about saving their money!
Beware, what you post on your social media pages could have a dramatic affect on what you pay for insurance premiums, or worse, one man almost had his claim denied!
Kurt Nordland never dreamed photos he posted on his Facebook page would create huge problems.
The pictures show him drinking a beer and relaxing with his pals at the beach.
Who would have guessed investigators from the insurance company paying his worker's comp benefits were monitoring his Facebook account?
Well, soon after the photos were posted, the insurance company canceled his payments, cut off his medical benefits and Kurt had to delay surgery to repair torn cartilage in his shoulder.
Dr. Tamyra Pierce says, "Before they would have to have people staking out, and watching and it took a lot of time. Now it's a little bit easier just to check the photos on Facebook."
Doctor Pierce is the chairperson of the Mass Communications department at Fresno State; she specializes in social media privacy.
She says depending on your privacy settings, if it's on the Internet, it is fair game.
If insurance investigators think you're dabbling in risky business you could pay higher premiums.
If, as in Kurt's case, they think you're faking an injury, you could face coverage cancellation.
Kurt's attorney says social media mining is now becoming standard practice in the insurance industry.
The Insurance Information Institute says absolutely some companies monitor people's social media pages, mostly to find potential fraud -- which makes everyone's premiums more expensive.
Eliminating fraud is private investigator Steve Davis' specialty.
First place he now checks: social media accounts.
And he says he's struck gold many times.
He found pictures of a man apparently pulling kids around on an ATV while collecting disability insurance for an injury.
And a woman is tagged in photos taking helicopter flying lessons, yet our investigator says she was also claiming to be severely injured.
Ken Davis, chief investigator for Davis and Associates says, "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.
As for Kurt, medical records prove his on-the-job shoulder injury is legit.
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