Private investigators have a cultural reputation for many things—surveillance, infidelity, undercover operations—the exciting things we’re used to seeing in movies and television. Many people are unaware that private investigators also take a huge piece of their corporate pie from insurance investigation. Private investigators use their unique skillsets and experiences to pursue the truth in insurance claims to establish their merit and prevent insurance fraud.
There are many ways to commit insurance fraud. For example,
a homeowner might remove property from their home and then report it as stolen.
They might deliberately cause damage to their property and then report a freak
occurrence, or weather, as the culprit. When a suspect claim comes across a
processor’s desk, they can hand it over to a private investigator to perform
due-diligence and vet the claim.
Private investigators can use their famed surveillance
methodology to track the homeowner to a secure location where “stolen” property
is being stored. They could use their access to verified databases to look at
an individual’s various histories, such as criminal, transience, and
litigation. All relevant information is compiled and generated in the form of a
comprehensive report in which the private investigator provides clear
recommendations regarding the validity of the claim.
Sometimes insurance companies only want the private
investigator to take pictures of an accident site, or an injury, or maybe they
just want some spot-check surveillance on an employee claiming worker’s
compensation. Another way insurance companies can rely on private investigators
is with document review. Private investigators can comb repair receipts,
financial records, police reports, and social media for evidence the claim is
Some insurance companies rely on their own internal investigators to vet and process their claims. It may be more cost-effective to keep the investigation in-house, or leadership might be more comfortable using an internal investigator. The inherent problem with any internal investigation is that any investigating agents who have a stake—direct or otherwise—in the insurance company cannot be completely objective. In an industry where litigation is not only possible, but likely, insurers and guarantors of benefits must be sure their investigations are comprehensive and will hold up to scrutiny.
A common unforeseen issue with handling insurance claim
investigations internally is that it has the potential to slow down daily
operations. Claims gather and bottle-neck at the choke point in the process,
causing employees to feel overwhelmed and increasing their margin of error,
which may result in more lost time and resources correcting those errors. One of
the greatest advantages of hiring a private investigator to vet insurance
claims is their valuable autonomy. They have their own databases, their own
league of investigators, and their own processes. The investigations process
can move quickly because there is very rarely a chain of command and little
bureaucracy involved, leading to more closed claims and greater success for the
Contracting due-diligence out to private investigators means
less stress on internal employees and another layer of credibility for the
investigation. Whether as a replacement for an internal team or on a
case-by-case basis, private investigators can give insurance providers the
valuable information and expertise they need to close cases swiftly and
Whether you are entering a merger, considering an investment, or assessing a competitor’s advantage, due diligence is a necessary factor to ensure a successful outcome. Business leaders know the importance of growth but every opportunity presented holds the potential for success or failure.
Business intelligence consists of collecting and organizing large amounts of data that enable businesses to identify opportunities and develop strategies that promote long-term success. Hans Peter Luhn, a researcher for IBM, said in a 1958 IBM Journal article, “Business intelligence is the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action toward a desired goal.”
Successful business leaders know the importance of information gathering and review before making any business decision. They draw information and knowledge from various professional disciplines including business consulting, law firms, journalists, and of course investigators.
For instance, when considering a merger with another company it is crucial to know as much about the company’s history, business management, ethics, financial solvency, possible undisclosed liabilities, leadership of the company, and their affiliations. All business transactions have potential risks and it important to assess these risks prior to entering any business transaction. The public information gathered can be quite revealing and prevent a decision that could devastate years of hard work, reputation, and even avoid litigation in the aftermath.
Another circumstance that could arise is that your company may want to know the demographics of your competitor’s clients. The information gathered would contain the number of products offered by the company, how many were products were purchased, how many were sold to men or women, the age brackets of those who purchased the products, the average income level, zip code, and level of education. Utilizing a combination of commercial due diligence and intensive analytical due diligence can forecast sales growth; identify a competitor’s operational metrics, procurement, customer management, and even fraud.
While business intelligence can identify external opportunities and risks, internal business intelligence can be equally important. For instance, in the Human Resources Department of a company, the data collected on employee’s absences can be a predictive trend and therefore a strategy developed to combat income loss and retain employees. The same company may want to gauge how their latest marketing campaign is increasing sales in order to produce a trend analysis report and present the information in east to understand graphs and charts in PowerPoint at the next Board Meeting. The advantage of data analysis is endless when assessing performance measures of a business.
Professional investigative teams have private investigators that can verify information, collect information about financial transactions, assets, investments, liabilities, and identify existing contracts, business practices, and even political associations. The information is then provided to the client providing a solid base for decision-making.
Business intelligence involves research, measurement, querying, analytics, data mining, performance management, reporting, identifying benchmarks, information sharing, and regulatory compliance. To implement effective business intelligence strategy, it is important to have skilled investigators to help your company obtain the needed information while conducting a legal, ethical, and discreet investigation.
According to Thomas Lauth, owner and lead private investigator at Lauth Investigations International, business intelligence has become a necessary component of business management worldwide. “From a negative media campaign to competing for a contract, knowing who your opposition is and their political and media affiliations, marketing and internet campaigns, and even motives will give you the competitive edge” says Lauth. “The old saying, it is better to be safe than sorry!” rings true.
Hiring a CEO is a long and arduous process. Companies can’t afford to waste time and money on the wrong candidates. It’s bad enough when someone gets a CEO position and isn’t good at their job. It’s even worse when they have to resign in embarrassment.
More frequently than you might suspect, companies hire someone for a top executive position without doing a thorough background check. Instances like these not only waste company resources, but they hurt the company’s image and make securing top talent in the future harder. Here are a few times a more thorough vetting process could’ve protected a company’s resources and reputation.
Monica Crowley was a research assistant to Richard Nixon in the 1990s. She received a PhD from Columbia University in 2000 and was a political commentator for The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and MSNBC, among others. She has published multiple books as well.
When Donald Trump won the presidency he initially nominated Crowley to be the Senior Director of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council. Quickly after her nomination reports began circulating that Crowley had plagiarized large portions of the books she had written.
Initially the Tump administration said they stood by Crowley and that the attacks on her were politically motivated. However more and more evidence of Crowley’s plagiarism began to mount.
Crowley was found to have not only plagiarize portions of her books, but also her PhD dissertation for Columbia University. Harper Collins, Crowley’s book publisher, withdrew her books from being sold and Columbia said they were reviewing their records.
Crowley’s plagiarism went from minor footnote to national spectacle overnight. After standing by Crowley during the initial accusations, the Tump administration ended up withdrawing her nomination. This whole scandal could’ve been avoided with basic cross referencing and data mining.
Gustavo Martinez was the CEO of J. Watler Thompson, a major company in the advertising industry. JWT has over 10,00 employees working in more than 200 offices across 90 countries.
Martinez is originally from Argentina and became Global President of JWT in 2014. In January of 2015 Martinez was named CEO. Within a year of his promotion, Martinez was named in a lawsuit alleging discrimination by a female employee.
The lawsuit claimed Martinez had made numerous racist remarks during a company meeting. Martinez is said to have told employees to double check their bags and belongings since the hotel where they were staying had so many black people. Martinez is also accused of making comments about raping female employees.
One of the more shocking aspects of this case is the brazenness of Martinez. All of these comments were made in front of large groups of people. His comments about black people potentially stealing employees belongings are even on video. In fact, Martinez had been known to discuss his distaste for Jewish people.
Martinez’s willingness to speak this way publicly surely could have been discovered before he was made CEO. Instead J. Walter Thompson is now engaged in a high profile lawsuit and lost their CEO. Extensive background investigations can protect your company from embarrassing headlines and wasting money fighting lawsuits that should never have happened in the first place.
Scott Thompson is an American businessman with an impressive resume. Thompson had a long career in technology before becoming the CEO of Yahoo in 2012. He had been the Executive Vice President of Technology Solutions for Inovant, Chief Information Officer for Barclays Global Investors, Chief Technology Officer and then President of Paypal.
Thompson’s work history made him appear to be the perfect candidate for almost any job in technology. How could he have gotten so many high level technology jobs without any skeletons being rousted from his closet?
Despite his exceptional work history it turns out that Thompson had been falsifying his resume. After six months as the CEO of Yahoo, Thompson was forced to resign after it was discovered he lied about his college education. Thompson claimed to have received bachelor’s degrees in computer science and accounting from Stonehill College.
When Stonehill College was contacted about potential discrepancies on Thompson’s resume, they would only confirm he had received a degree in accounting. Thompson blamed a headhunting firm for the false information, but the firm strongly denied the allegation. Yahoo has been struggling to find stead leadership ever since.
All of these cases share a common theme; they were all 100% avoidable. There is no excuse for hiring a CEO who has to resign in disgrace with a year of employment or even before they begin the job. Private investigation firms like Lauth Investigations International can identity these issues before your company makes a move.
Companies aren’t just wasting time and money on unqualified candidates, but they’re risking their reputations. Appearing dysfunctional is bad for investors and makes it more difficult to secure qualified candidates in the future. Lauth Investigations International has the investigatory skills to protect your business from self-inflicted wounds.
David Schroeder, Blog Writer, Lauth Investigations International
Vetting is a process most often spoken of when it comes to political candidates. A potential candidate can go through extreme forms of background checks and research into anything from family matters to finances. Because they are backed by political parties and face media scrutiny, this process remains essential and goes unchallenged.
Why then do people of similar position in the private sector often go through the hiring process unchecked? In 2012 Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson was one such case when he was found to have lied about his educational history when he added a dual major for a degree that didn’t exist at his alma mater. After this information was made public, he was fired, others in charge of hiring forcibly resigned, and thus became a monster headache for the struggling corporation.
Former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson (Source Cnet)
This is just one example in long line of upper management being improperly hired, leading to scandals down the line: impacting the company, the brand, and the bottom line. In order to avoid such public pratfalls, a thorough vetting process would be wise to implement for the most influential positions of a company.
Proper Vetting Techniques, Facts, and Myths
1. Make sure the right employees are involved in the hiring process. Especially in large organizations, certain members can do more harm than good. For instance, in Yahoo’s case board members were heavily involved in major hiring decisions, causing strife with the HR department (aka people who are trained to hire others). This led to some obviously poor decisions including informal interviews without HR knowledge and/or going through proper vetting channels.
2. The higher the position, the more detailed and stringent the hiring process should be. Makes sense right? You’d be surprised at how this can often be reversed. Some suggested this occurs from not wanted to upset your potential CEO who might find it undignified. An HR exec at Pepsi-Co Suggests that the “more senior you are, the more its about relationships and less about filling out an application.” Whatever the case may be, this backwards thinking has lead to many a company’s PR department having endless migraines.
3. Vetting process isn’t just for the companies benefit. Being properly vetted helps the potential hire and not only through avoiding embarrassing public scrutiny. By having certain exaggerations or falsities come up through vetting, it allows the candidate the chance to correct the error and move on before it can scar them for life.
4. Utilizing a third party for this process can avoid in-house biases. Hiring objective, experienced investigators can produce the best results without leaving hiring or HR department of the company in compromised positions. However, said department should still work closely with the investigators in order to receive the necessary information.
5. Trying to understand the candidates psychology. Just because they passed a background check and have the necessary credentials doesn’t mean they should become the face for your organization. Trying to suss out cases of candidates too consumed with power or narcissism can be tricky, but there are options available. Going beyond a person’s references can stem from asking a reference particular questions or interviewing the potential hires previous employee underlings. Taking the time to go through such measures can help determine if he/she would be proper fit for your company.
6. Not just CEOs. Vetting techniques can and should be used for candidates of many industries. From the coach of professional sports organizations to higher ups in various form of academia, if you can be hired in a position of power, then the organization should take the time and due diligence to make sure you won’t come back to haunt them.
The National Football League (NFL), has long sustained a period of growth and dominance. In the past 20 years, we’ve seen American football replace baseball as America’s national pastime. Even with flare-ups and controversies like questionable team names, spy-gates, lock-outs, and concussions, the “teflon league” continues to draw in record numbers. The NFL’s weekly game format, media-friendly structure, and fantasy playability has proven to be a perfect fit in today’s digital world. Alas, this most recent scandal may put a chink in the once pristine, family-friendly armor, and its ripple effects could be felt by the football organization for a long time.
The Ray Rice scandal, which included video footage of the Baltimore Ravens star in the aftermath of Ray beating his fiance (now wife) unconscious. This action was initially given a two game ban by the league, as approved by NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell. However, in today’s visual society the NFL found itself on the other-side of scrutiny when a second, more graphic video went viral. As of this posting, the league and commissioner have been put under the microscope from the same outlets and social media platforms that have previously been a boon for the professional sports organization.
Some are calling for Goodell’s resignation, others want reform for the league, or at least question the unyielding power the heads of the NFL seem to have. The PR train is in full swing down at NFL HQ, with Goodell having recently hired an independent private investigator to ease tensions and exonerate himself. Former FBI director Robert Muller has been involved in investigations from 9/11 to the Boston marathon bombings, thus is well aware of stakes and sensitivity, while his track record provides credibility for public.
NFL- aka No Free Life-lines, even if your one of the most powerful sports organizations on the planet. (Source: NFL.com)
However savvy it may be to save face by hiring a private investigator now, by waiting till this unfortunate event became a media frenzy, they have only hurt their brand, image, and reputation. This will certainly cost them millions, and would have proven a much wiser move to seek out an investigator back in February, when the incident first occurred.
Imagine what a little due diligence could have done for the organization. By hiring a PI in the Spring, they would have saved themselves the scandal this second video caused.
Though private investigators wouldn’t have access to the second video, from finding information on public record, and working with the NFL, much could be derived. For instance, points of discussion with this case has rarely focused on the police dept. or hotel involved. Both could be complicit in the mishandling of evidence and charges against the accused. A private investigator could seek out the corruption both externally and internally, which could lead to a more proficient, less scandal plagued organization.
The NFL is unlike anythings else. A powerful, (technically) non-profit that has a monopoly on the market, and a demand for it’s product that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Without a checks and balances system, the NFL has become a government onto itself, so using a private investigator in times of crisis would help the NFL become a more stable, consistent presence for all athletes and sports fans alike.