Insurers under pressure from PTSD gaffe

Date: Sep 12, 2016

A recent case, in which a former Australian police officer was placed under surveillance by an insurer, is indicative of the stressful and often hostile environments individuals find themselves in when making a claim.

Rather than enter into the process on your own, it's imperative to seek a lawyer experienced making TPD claims. With their guidance, you can rest assured your claim will not lead to harassment.

PTSD claim under surveillance

A recent Four Corners episode has unveiled the upsetting encounters between an ex-police officer suffering from PTSD and an insurance company and its private investigators.

As a former terrorism investigator and undercover operative for the Australian Crime Commission, the former officer experienced a number of distressing situations, including the mutilated body of a murder victim. 

After leaving the police force in 2011, he submitted a compensation claim for his illness under a New South Wales Police Force's superannuation fund, which was managed by MetLife. In 2012, an approved psychiatrist, selected by the insurer, diagnosed him with having PTSD. 

In spite of the report, the insurer continued to surveil the former policeman. Investigators were hired to watch his home on more than 10 occasions, with four being recorded. 

"He spiralled downwards after [the surveillance] started to happen over that period, unbelievably rapidly," said his father Bruce. "He was in a really, really, bad way."

Not a lone case

The incident is not a one-off either. In fact, surveillance continues to be used as a measure by insurers. In response to the increased visibility of the case, MetLife said it reviewed its claim process and no longer uses surveillance during mental illness claims.

Mental illness is rampant throughout the Australian police force, with the ABC show claiming that 1 in 5 officers are at risk of mental illness. It's not just New South Wales either. 

Earlier this year, Victoria's Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said that up to five officers had committed suicide over the last 12 months.  

"I've recognised certainly over the past few years it's been a worsening situation – I'm seeing a lot more police suicides than I ever used to," he told 774 ABC Melbourne. "We've had two this week have taken their own lives, one of our PSOs earlier this year also."

Mental illness, like all kinds of illness and injuries, can be permanently and totally debilitating. As such, it's important to talk to a compensation lawyer who can guide you through TPD claims. 

If you would like to know more about legal solutions to TPD claims, contact an expert at Gerard Malouf and Partners

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.