Archive for April, 2016

Your Magic Crystal Ball

April 13th, 2016 Comments off

A new tool in the fight against disability and workers’ compensation fraud is open source investigations. The use of this technology is becoming more widely recognized and accepted.

Individuals continue to post more and more about their lives on a host of social media platforms. Instagram is overtaking Facebook as one of the most popular places to post photos and videos. Twitter also continues to be a favourite tool.

Posting all aspects of our daily lives makes us feel part of a global community. What does this mean for disability claim managers and those in the human resources profession? They have an unprecedented look into an individual’s public life.

How many times have you seen a doctor’s note that states that the individual is totally disabled, or unfit for modified duties, sitting or standing for longer periods, etc.? In the past, you would have to conduct a costly surveillance to determine the individual’s level of activity. Today, you may be a few clicks away from validating your concerns.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Do you realize how much data a photo reveals? Often we can obtain the exact location, date of the photo and when it was uploaded. All this information can become a part of your investigation. We had a case where an individual requested time away from work, and it was denied. The employee subsequently submitted a WSIB’s claim and got the requested time. The employee then posted photos on social media. Our investigators extracted data that placed the subject in Romania.

If the Internet is an iceberg, social media is only the tip. What lies below the surface is massive. A skilled investigator can easily harvest open source data. We recently had a case where a female employee was a part-time yoga instructor, outside of work. At the time of her claim, she turned on her privacy settings to avoid detection. Her only mistake was being showcased in a Yoga studio newsletter that was harvested using search techniques. Despite increased privacy settings, many apps disregard it and provide data the subject thought was hidden.

Can you do these types of investigations yourself? The short answer is yes. However without the necessary skills, you often won’t find what you need. It is also recommended that an independent third party gathers the information and later testify and present the evidence. The data is harvested in an ethical way to ensure privacy has not been violated and formulated into a structured admissible report.

An open source investigation is non-intrusive without any risk of being exposed. Using proxy servers allows investigators to collect data undetected without leaving any digital footprints.

If you have a claim that is under suspicion, maybe it’s time to have a peek.



Winds of Change

April 5th, 2016 Comments off

Brazil is currently facing unprecedented challenges. The country’s economy is in free fall, and the Petrobras scandal continues to provide a black cloud over the country’s leaders. The people of Brazil have become increasingly restless. To date, this has led to large-scale protests and calls for President Dilma Rousseff to step down. The refusal to step down will ultimately lead to a showdown between protesters, opposite parties and the government.

What does this mean for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio? At this time, mass protests are expected with threats to disrupt the torch run and planned events at venues. During the FIFA World Cup crime spiked and buses used for public transit were set ablaze.

Risk Plan


In working with clients, the following areas represent the greatest threats they wish to prepare contingencies for:

  • Medical and Health Concerns – the Zika virus along with reports of unsafe water and sanitation conditions
  • Political Threats – mass protests and potential removal of the current government
  • Crime – Rio is situated near the Favelas (these areas are beyond police control)
  • Traffic – existing infrastructure will not support the influx of people in Rio


What is your Duty of Care obligation?

If you have paid for the ticket, you are responsible and need to provide some level of protection. If you are found to be negligent, you can expose yourself to liabilities.

  • Pre-Trip Briefings – all personnel and clients attending Rio should be provided with a detailed briefing on the current security and medical risks and what they need to do to mitigate these risks
  • Communication – how will you communicate and provide updates during the games, are employees required to check in?
    • Is there a global security operation or command centre people can call?
  • Travel Tracking – your ability to quickly assess where people are at all times is required in the event of an emergency or crisis
  • Medical Support – you will need to have plans in place in the event medical attention is required
  • Security Support – what measures and precautions will be necessary to protect your people
  • Ongoing Support – flight delays, lost passports, damaged luggage – these are all things that need to be covered in your plan

Risk SecurityWe firmly recommended you review your current travel insurance. Most travel insurance provides protection for day-to-day events and is not geared to crisis or emergency occurrences.

Pay particular attention to the following:

  • Hard Loss Triggers – what event will trigger payment and support for a claim? Often the bar is set very high, and you will find you do not meet the criteria for an allowable claim.
  • Political Protests – most policies view protests as an act of civil disobedience and in extreme cases, These types of events are not covered, and any response will be out of pocket.
  • Natural Disasters – will your policy provide coverage in the case of a natural disaster?
  • Crime – if you are a victim of a crime what will be covered?

Should your insurance not cover these events, you will incur costs for any response options that might be required. If you need help in reviewing insurance or emergency response agreements, please feel free to contact me at We will have one of our risk mitigation specialists conduct a review and provide more information on what you can do to protect yourself and your workforce.

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