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How insurance companies try to keep you from getting disability benefits

Insurance companies can use a variety of tactics to deny disability benefits (Getty)

If your employer’s insurance company is giving you a hard time about disability insurance, you’re not alone.

Long and short term disability insurance is intended to protect workers in the event of an illness or injury that keeps them from earning a paycheque.

Kotak Personal Injury Law says there’s a new trend that makes it harder to qualify, including by increasingly requesting confidential medical information.

We have noticed insurance companies raising their level of scrutiny and tactics to deny disability claims,” says Nainesh Kotak, founder of Kotak Personal Injury Law.

“It’s important that people are aware and properly prepared for when this occurs.”

If you think the insurance company is trying to deny or terminate your benefits, Kotak says there are some telltale signs to watch out for.

Surveillance is a common tactic. Insurers will hire private investigators to try to catch you in the act of doing something a disabled or injured person couldn’t, like moving a ladder or other heavy objects.

But there often aren’t any visible signs a person is disabled. Disabilities related to pain, flexibility, mobility, and mental health were the most common disability types according to the Canadian Survey on Disability 2017.

Insurers could also badger you with phone calls, telling you that you should be working. Kotak says this view is becoming entrenched among caseworkers.

They can also have their nurses contact your doctor to fill out forms. Kotak says they know your doctor is likely too busy to keep up with all of the paperwork. They can also mischaracterize brief phone conversations to deny your claim. Again, your doctor may be too busy and won’t correct the nurse’s account.

“We are seeing insurance companies repeatedly deny claims based on what they perceive as insufficient medical information,” said Kotak.

Insurance companies might send you to their own doctors or assessors. Kotak says they aren’t always independent and could give an opinion that differs from your doctor’s.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitte@jessysbains

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