Disability Insurance vs Instagram

Did you hear the story of Samuel Archibald? He’s a Canadian author who made headlines when he went public after his disability claim for depression was denied because the insurer said photos he’d posted on Instagram and other social media sites showed he looked active, in shape and happy.

Unfortunately, as Mr. Archibald discovered when he was flooded by messages of support from others who’d experienced the same thing, this tactic by insurance companies is widespread.

Disability insurance lawyers have been aware of this practice for many years, and Canadian courts have been considering these issues since the days of MySpace back in the mid-2000s.

Archibald’s high-profile account helps to draw attention to the issue, which unions, legal experts, and practising doctors say needs to end. Society is becoming more aware and willing to acknowledge the validity and complexity of mental health, and mental health-related insurance claims are on the rise.  The insurance industry’s practice of trusting its own hired experts over the opinion of a claimant’s own physician is more problematic than ever. (For more on that, see our previous post, When Doctors Are Actually “Hired Guns”)

For now, Samuel Archibald is in limbo, but is hopeful that “insurance companies will come to understand that by treating people with mental illness as potential fraudsters, they’re exacerbating their problems.”