Think as if it were and IME.

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 18:20:09 -0400
From: judy morris 
Subject: Advice for Home Visits

I've been asked to talk about Home Visits.  I was lucky I did not have
to experience one.  At the time UNUM wanted to interview me I was
visiting friends in another state and I did not want to invite strangers
to their home, so I met the Field Rep in the lobby of his hotel.  My
boyfriend came with me and we tape recorded the interview.  I told the
rep he was going to be tape recorded and he agreed to it.  This tape is
going to come in very useful in my lawsuit.

As far as insurance reps wanting to come INTO your home.  I advise
against it.  What possible reason could they have?  It is just another
excuse for them to look around for things to put in your claims file
that are prejudicial (i.e. house very clean - she must be able to work,
or exercise bicycle in corner, etc.)  Also people have reported that
there are devastating emotional consequences when you find out how your
words are twisted around and that the sole purpose of these visits was
to put the screws to you.  I'm sure that people who have been through
this feel violated in their own homes.  Not to mention they will be
checking for ways to surveil you, like is there a gap in the fence or
a window that can be peered in.

They also have a nasty habit of scheduling an appointment but then
showing up a few days early because they "happened to be in the

During the interview they will browbeat you, ask you ridiculous
questions and try to put words in your mouth.  My rep kept trying to get
me to say I was afraid of crowds or afraid of flying after I told him I
usually get sicker after I've been in crowds or airplanes.  Then when he
wanted exacting details of my driving and I objected that my ability to
drive has nothing to do with my ability to perform the duties of my
occupation, he said "So, I assume you are REFUSING TO ANSWER THE
QUESTIONS."  I had to repeatedly tell him I would not answer ridiculous
or unreasonable questions but was willing to cooperate fully with any
reasonable questions.  Then he threatened me that if I didn't answer the
questions I might "have a problem down the way."

I also asked him point blank if I was going to be followed and
videotaped.  He replied "I have no knowledge of that" and "I'm not
following you."  He admitted I might be surveilled and that they could
look into my house if the drapes were not drawn.  It turned out I'd been
followed to that interview, and I'm sure he knew since I have letters in
my file intructing him to be sure and call my adjusters before the
interview.  He of course doesn't mention this part of the conversation
in his report but it's on my audiotape.

Sometimes during the home visit they will make a "take it or leave it"
settlement offer (and it will be an insult to your intelligence).

My suggestions if your insurance company insists on a face to face
visit.  First of all, it means they are up to something or they would
have accepted your doctor's reports at face value.

1)Arrange to meet outside your home.  Your town library probably has
meeting rooms that can be reserved for this.  If not meet at Duncan
Donuts, a park, a bus station, anywhere but in your home. Maybe your
church, a school or some other social organization has an empty room you
can use.  Of course if you have a lawyer, meet at his office.  Obviously
this does not apply if you are bedridden.  In that case you will have to
let them come to your home, but make sure you follow rules 2 and 3.

2)DON'T GO ALONE.  One woman reported her experience with 2 home visits,
one she did alone, the second time with a friend.  She said the report
from the first visit was so twisted it was unbelievable.  And she cried
for hours after these inquisitions.

3)Insist that you be allowed to tape record the conversation.  If they
are not planning to lie or deceive you they should have no objection to
this.  You should not under ANY circumstances have a home visit (or an
IME) knowing what we know now, without a permanant record you can use
later in court, if need be.

4)I would also advise them, preferably in writing, that if for some
reason they have to cancel the appointment you must have at least 2 days
notice or you will NOT reschedule.

Sure they will paint you as suspicious, paranoid, and fearful, but at
least you'll have the evidence you need when they terminate or deny your
benefits by saying you are a fraud, a malingerer, and mentally ill.

It's quite obvious that UNUM was never planning to pay my benefits. 
But, thanks to articles and warnings from other people, I tape recorded
and documented EVERYTHING.  At least I have a CHANCE against them.

I'm not saying this to make you paranoid just to warn you based on my
experiences and those that have been related to me.  I am thankful that
I was warned.  I took precautions and now I have the evidence I need
against them.  Just remember, every cent they don't pay a disabled
person is another cent of profit, and to UNUM and their executives,
profit is the God.

Good luck.

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Created: October 25, 1998
Last Updated: May 28, 2000