In a recently decided appeal in the Third Circuit (NJ, Pa, and Delaware), Liberty Life made an admission that the utilization of surveillance is an “aggressive tactic”, one that might constitute a procedural irregularity demonstrating bias. Culley v. Liberty Life Assur. Co., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 16002 (3d Cir. 2009).
This case was presented to the Court of Appeals by Liberty Life, who lost at the District Court level. In seeking to argue that it was not under any obligation to conduct surveillance, it maintained this interesting position – one that certainly will be utilized against it in the future when Liberty Life does, in fact, conduct surveillance, a common claim handling technique.
The Court also determined that Liberty Life’s claim process disfavored the claimant “at every crossroad”. It is pleasant to see when judges appreciate the adversarial nature of the disability claim process engaged in by insurers.