Increasingly, TPD insurers under the Police TPD scheme are asking claimants to submit to factual interviews with investigators.
It is not clear to us what the insurer seeks to find from a factual interview. In our experience the reasons given are rarely clear, often vague and sometimes obliquely refer to the insurer seeking clarification as to the claimant’s Police career. How a claimant’s Police career is directly relevant to the issue in question in a TPD claim (which centres around a claimant's ability to engage in employment) is not clear to us.
We act for Police claimants' who prior to retaining us agreed to undergo such a factual interview. We are told that the interviews resemble a Police style interview, are recorded and involve the administration of a formal Police caution at the commencement of the process. All of our clients who have undergone the interview described how distressed they were at the end of the process, regarding the way the interviews were conducted, especially the recording of the interview and the issuing of the caution.
Some have been so upset that they needed to seek medical intervention. Others were even more distressed when they made some enquiries as to the private investigator that interviewed them and discovered (freely available on-line) the investigators thoughts in respect of psychiatric injury and in particular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the particular investigators thoughts on Police who are medically discharged hurt on duty with such conditions. This information is freely available on line.
Whilst we examine each request on an individual basis and often seek the advice of our client’s treating doctors, we have yet to agree to a request for a factual interview sought by MetLife. The reasons for this are simple;
- We are not convinced the insurer’s request for such an interview is needed or of any relevance to the ultimate question which is the claimant’s TPD status
- For claimants who are ex Police officers, the recorded interview process described above often leads to an aggravation of their symptoms;
- There is a simple alternative, being that the insurer can ask a set of questions which (as long as they are relevant) can be answered by the claimant;
- We have concerns about the ethics and practices of some of the private investigation firms.
It is important to know that the insurer is not legally entitled to delay or reject a claim for your refusal to submit to a factual interview.
As Lawyers for many ex Police claimants we have made our objections in respect of requests for factual interviews very clear to the insurer and trustee. We recommend that if during your claim you are asked to participate in a factual interview or contacted directly by a Private Investigator, you seek urgent legal advice.
John Cox leads Cost West Lawyers Personal Injury team. As an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury, John is passionate about his clients & dedicated to getting results, John can be contacted to discuss TPD claims via our Contact Cox West or at the office on 02 47213110